Locust outbreak in Somalia
The Food and Agriculture Organization ( FAO ) works together with the Ministry of Agricultural Development of Somaliland to curb the spread of desert locusts through control operations with the use of biopesticide and surveillance efforts with an innovative tool called eLocust3. Control operations were carried out by the Plant Protection Department of the Ministry of Agricultural Development of Somaliland in the outskirts of Geerisa town, Lughaye district, Somaliland to contain the formation of new swarms of desert locust immature adults. Control operations in this breeding ground include the use of biopesticide through sprayers and a vehicle-mounted sprayer. Biopesticides target specifically locusts and do not harm other insects that pollinators. The team led by Mohamed Mohamoud, Director, Plant Protection Department, Ministry of Agriculture of Somaliland, is also conducting surveillance efforts thanks to the eLocust3 technology. Data gathered is transmitted via satellite to FAO’s Desert Locust Information Service to update in real time the information about the current situation in the field. FAO is currently fundraising to increase the capacities of the Ministry in terms of teams on the ground to contain as much as possible the upsurge. The Desert Locust is considered the most destructive migratory pest in the world. A swarm covering one square kilometer contains 40 million locusts that can eat the same amount of food in one day as 35,000 people. The situation was extremely alarming in East Africa, a region where 20 million people are already considered food insecure. Pasture and croplands have already suffered damage in Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, and there are potentially severe consequences for the region where millions rely on agriculture and livestock rearing for their survival. According to FAO's Desert Locust Information Service, it is the worst outbreak to strike Ethiopia and Somalia for 25 years and the worst infestation that Kenya has experienced in 70 years.