A cross-border survey (CBS), the first one since several years, was organized between Tajikistan and Uzbekistan on 28 March-2 April 2022 in border areas of Districts of Republican Subordination and Khatlon region of Tajikistan and Surkhandarya region of Uzbekistan.
The survey was organized under FAO regional “Programme to improve national and regional locust management in Caucasus and Central Asia” and more specifically within the JICA/Japan funded project “Improvement of locust management in Central Asia” (Phase 2).
Moroccan Locust or DMA is indeed considered one of the serious pests harming agriculture in Central Asia and swarm movements across borders make control more difficult. The cross-border survey was thus held with the aim of the joining efforts of locust control agencies of both countries towards reducing the threats from locusts and strengthening bilateral and regional cooperation.
Working group consisted of 12 specialists including managers of locust control services from both countries, Mr Bakhtiyor Khudaykulov, Head of the Locust and Mulberry Pyralid Control Department, Agency of Plant Protection and Quarantine of Uzbekistan and Mr Nusratullo Nozaninzoda, Head of the State Entity “Locust Control Expedition” Ministry of Agriculture of Tajikistan. Mr Alexandre Latchininsky, Agricultural Officer (Locust management), member of the FAO “Locusts and Transboundary Plant Pests and Diseases” Team, visited Tajikistan and Uzbekistan for the cross-border survey; Mr Bahromiddin Husenov, FAO Agricultural Officer (Plant Protection/Locusts), also participated in the CBS.
Overall, 75,000 hectares were surveyed on both sides of the border, including pasture lands and agricultural crops in Termez district of Uzbekistan. At the time of the survey, DMA already hatched in most of the visited areas in both countries and was in the nymphal first instar, with the maximum density of 250-300 individuals per sq. m Delegates of the two countries praised efforts of locust control services in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan to prevent damages to agricultural lands by locusts.
Field data were incorporated into the FAO’s Automated System of Data Collection (ASDC) by the specialists. At the end of the mission representatives of the two countries signed a joint protocol covering the current status of the locust situation and agreed to continue close cooperation in preventing risks of high locust infestations on both sides of their joint border.
After the survey, Mr Alexandre Latchininsky visited the main office and facilities of the Agency of Plant Protection and Quarantine of Uzbekistan. The meeting was also attended by Mr Sherzod Umarov, Assistant FAO Representative in Uzbekistan. It is important to note that in 2021 within the framework of the project “Improvement of locust management in Central Asia” (Phase 2), FAO handed over locust survey and control equipment, personal protective equipment, as well as publications and information materials, both in Russian and Uzbek languages, to the Agency for improving pest control processes.