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FAO responds to Zambia’s locust invasion

The Zambian government has reached another phase in the massive control operation against the African Migratory Locust (AML). Locusts have been reported in Central, Southern and Western regions of Zambia.

Provinces that were highly affected by locusts are Shibuyunji, Mumbwa, Itezhi-tezhi, Kazungula, Namwala, Sesheke, Nalolo, Mongu, Mwandi and Kalabo districts. The invasion has become very serious in Sesheke and Mwandi in Western Province.

Under the US$500 000 Southern Africa Emergency Locust Response and Preparedness Project, The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is working closely with the Government of Zambia and other partners to protect crops, pastures and livelihoods from the pest.

After the Zambian invasion, many countries have offered their support and so far, USD 3,877,000 has been contributed to the Southern Africa Locust Emergency Response Plan developed under the coordination of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) in collaboration with the International Red Locust Control Organization for Central and Southern Africa (IRLCO-CSA).

A meeting was held recently in Zambia outlining the action points for the control of the locusts which will be backed-up by the FAO starting Thursday this week. The meeting was held by the Ministry of Agriculture and chaired by the Permanent Secretary with representatives from the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU), IRLCO-CSA and FAO.

“Working with the Ministry of Agriculture, FAO will provide technical and financial assistance towards supporting ground surveys using GPS mapping systems, the formation of rapid response ground teams for monitoring and spraying, as well as facilitate production of awareness communication materials for communities,” said FAO in a statement.

Some neighbouring countries were also affected by the invasion. However, FAO has launched a regional Emergency Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP) to support affected countries to respond to the AML crises. The programme will provide technical support for national locust surveillance and will make sure control units are established.

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