Desert Locust threat in the Sahel - 2012
ADDENDUM TO THE FOOD AND NUTRITION CRISIS IN THE SAHEL: Urgent action to support the resilience of vulnerable populations
Following unusual rains in late 2011 and early 2012, Desert Locust infestations were first reported in southwest Libya and in southeast Algeria in January 2012. Despite insecurity along both sides of the border, more than 60 000 hectares have been treated by national teams, thanks to the support provided to Libya by FAO and the FAO Commission for Controlling the Desert Locust in the Western Region (CLCPRO). As ecological conditions dried out, locusts migrated south in the areas of recent rainfall in Niger and Mali from late May onwards.
The arrival of the locusts coincides with planting and emergence of this year's summer rain fed crops in agricultural zones in Niger, Mali and Chad. Therefore, there is an immediate and severe threat to crops in these countries. Depending on weather conditions (primarily rains) access to locust infested areas, this threat could continue this summer as two successive generations of breeding occur, causing locusts to increase up to 250 fold. Unless controlled, large numbers of swarms could form at the end of the summer and invade Libya, Algeria, Mauritania and perhaps Morocco.
Immediate availability of funds is essential to carry out proper survey and control operations in Niger and Mali (and to a lesser extent in Chad) against incoming swarms and the forthcoming generation during July and August. Preparedness against a second potentially larger generation of breeding in September and October is also crucial.
These actions are required to protect crops, contribute to food and nutrition security and reduce the scale of swarm formation and migration to adjacent countries. FAO will continue monitoring the progression of the Desert Locust in the Sahel.