Locusts are the world’s most dangerous migratory pest, who can travel 150 kilometers a day, huddle in swarms of 80 million individuals and eat as much plant food per day as the population of a large city. Locusts pose a serious threat to agriculture, food security and well-being around the world, as dangerous insects can destroy crops on millions of hectares and devastate large farms. Damage in such cases is estimated in millions of dollars.
Dealing with locust outbreaks is challenging as transboundary cooperation and specialized equipment are needed to kill newly emerging locusts, preventing them from breeding. Therefore the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) implements the project for Improvement of Locust Management (Phase II), funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for the benefit of Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
Within the framework of this project, on December 27, 2021, FAO handed over special machinery, equipment, training manuals and information materials, as well as personal protection equipment to the Agency of Plant Protection and Quarantine of the Republic of Uzbekistan to improve pest control processes. In particular, the Agency received 10 motorbykes, 14 tablets, 5 vehicle mounted sprayers, 400 goggles, 400 masks, 240 PVC gloves, 200 caps, 200 special jumpsuits, 100 boots, 200 books, 1000 information posters, etc.
An improved response mechanism to locust outbreaks is being introduced by FAO through the project, using less harmful pesticides and biological pest control products. The joint efforts contribute to food security and livelihoods of the rural populations in Central Asia by preventing and limiting the threats posed by locusts and damage to crops and rangelands in the respect of human health and the environment.