The Desert Locust situation continues to be a cause of concern in Chad and western Sudan where breeding is in progress and there is a risk of an outbreak developing. Low numbers of new swarms could start to form in eastern Chad in the coming weeks. So far, very few locusts have been seen in southern Mauritania, northern Mali and Niger but good rains have fallen in most of these areas and ecological conditions are favourable for breeding. Seasonal forecasts suggest that good rainfall will continue in August and September. Consequently, increased vigilance and intensive survey operations should be maintained in the Sahel in West Africa and Sudan.
The current situation is most serious in Chad and western Sudan where mainly third instar hopper bands are present. The extent of the populations in both countries is not known because of the diffi culty to access many of the infested areas due to security concerns and fl ooding from recent rains. Nevertheless, breeding is in progress in eastern Chad (Ouaddai region) and in western Sudan (Western and Northern Darfur). It may also be underway in central and western Chad (Batha and Kanem regions) where unusually good rains have fallen over a large area and there are unconfi rmed reports of hopper bands. To date, only limited ground control operations have been possible in both countries where 400 ha were treated in Chad so far this month and 750 ha in Sudan. Given the good rains and the diffi culty of ground operations, there is a risk that an outbreak could develop.
Although the situation is calmer elsewhere in West Africa, it must be continually monitored especially in view of the good rains that have recently fallen in many of the summer breeding areas where residual locust populations are thought to be present. A few solitarious mature adults were reported in Tamesna and in the central Adrar des Iforas in northern Mali as well as south of Agadez in Niger. Low numbers of second instar hoppers persist in central Niger near Tanout where breeding previously occurred. No locusts were seen during surveys in northern Senegal, southern Mauritania or in the Air Mountains in Niger. No locusts were reported in Northwest Africa.
In northern Ethiopia, confirmation was received that at least one swarm laid eggs in the Amhara region in late June that hatched and a few very small hopper bands formed in early July. Control operations treated 16 ha. Since then, there have been no further reports of locusts. Scattered adults are present in the summer breeding areas in the interior of Yemen and in Rajasthan, India but no significant developments are likely in either country.
The most up-to-date information on the situation is available on the new FAO locust web site (www.fao. org/ag/locusts).
The FAO Desert Bulletin is issued monthly, supplemented by Updates during periods of increased Desert Locust activity, and is distributed by fax, e-mail, FAO pouch and airmail by the Locusts and Other Migratory Pests Group, AGP Division, FAO, 00100 Rome, Italy. It is also available on the Internet.