Locust Crisis in Madagascar - Situation Update, 20 June 2013
Since April 2012, Madagascar has been facing a serious locust plague of the Malagasy Migratory Locust, that threatens the livelihoods of 13 million people in the country, nine million of whom earn a living from agriculture. Locust infestations, if untreated, could wipe out food crops and livestock grazing lands – and with it a family’s ability to provide for itself.
At least 1.5 million hectares could be infested by locusts in two-thirds of the country by September 2013. Findings from a recently concluded damage assessment indicate that rice and maize crop losses due to locusts in the mid- and southwestern part of Madagascar vary, on average, from 40 to 70 percent, reaching up to 100 percent in some plots.
The Ministry of Agriculture of Madagascar declared a national disaster on 27 November 2012 and requested assistance from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to address the current locust plague.
In response to the locust plague, an emergency programme, with the objective to safeguard the food security of rural populations, has been jointly prepared by FAO and the Ministry of Agriculture. An appeal to donors was launched in December 2012. It is estimated that at least three successive locust control campaigns (from September 2013 to September 2016), costing USD 41.5 million, are required to treat more than 2 million hectares (1.5 million hectares in 2013/14, 500 000 hectares in 2014/15 and 150 000 hectares 2015/16).
The three-year programme includes:
o Improving the monitoring and analysis of the locust situation
o Large-scale aerial and ground control operations
o Monitoring and mitigating impact of locust control operations on human health and the environment
o Assessing the effectiveness of each locust campaign and the impact of locusts on crops and pastures
In late February 2013, Cyclone Haruna worsened the situation. The cyclone, which hit the southwestern part of Madagascar, not only damaged crops and homes but also provided ideal breeding conditions for locusts for a longer period than usual.
Out of the required USD 41.5 million over the three-year period, USD 22.4 million are needed by June 2013 to implement the first emergency campaign (from September 2013 to September 2014).
The current funding gap is USD 41.5 million. Should all the required funds not be available on time to undertake the locust campaigns, the plague will persist several years, severely affecting food security, nutrition and livelihoods.