The Food and Agriculture Organization, FAO has raised alarm over a possible invasion of desert locusts in the West African countries, noting that the issue of pests in the Sub-region is worrisome and has adversely affected crop and animal production as 40 per cent of losses recorded in crop production and 25 per cent in animal production.
This was made known in Abuja, at the opening session of the Capacity Building Workshop for Competent Authorities at the National Level on the Best Practices for the Anticipation and Control of Desert Locust Invasion in West Africa and Sahel Sub-Region by Dr Fred Kafeero, FAO Country Representative in Nigeria and to the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS.
FAO proposed that swarms of desert locusts will migrate from the summer breeding areas for winter breeding with the possibility of swarms reaching the coast of Sudan and Saudi Arabia while others may cross the Gulf of Aden from Yemen to northern Somalia.
The organization suggested that effort should be made to reduce the number of swarms before they lay eggs, this may not be entirely possible so control against the new generation of hopper bands is likely to be required towards the end of this year.
Kafeero who was represented by the Assistant Representative Programme, FAO, Abubakar Suleiman, promised technical assistance form FAO to member countries in order to strengthen regional coordination to arrest the situation and not to allow it get to out of control.
“The project is to provide technical assistance and build and strengthen the locust surveillance and control capacity of targeted countries including Cameroon, Gambia and Nigeria in the area of preparedness and anticipatory actions to prevent the desert locust invasion.”
“This will contribute to saving the livelihoods of the affected populations and increasing their resilience to the desert locust invasion. Kafeero said: