‘Gambia is locust free’

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The monthly locust report for June, 2007 has been release with no locust presence reported in The Gambia and neighbouring Senegal with no significant developments likely.

In a six-page report release by the African Emergency Locust Project (AELP), Banjul office yesterday signed by Sheikh Tijan Sosseh, acting Project Co-Coordinator, the locust teams in the Gambia have surveyed over 800 hectare of natural vegetation and vegetable crops but no locust presence is reported.

In the forecast, the report stated that slight increases in locust numbers were reported in Mali, Niger and Mauritania.

In the sub-regional outlook for Western Region, the report stated that, the situation remained calm in the region during the month of June. “Low numbers of solitaries’ adults were present in few places in Morocco and Southern Algeria. Limited breeding occurred in Northwest Algeria, where ground control operations were carried out against groups of hoppers and adults. Small scale breeding will commence with the onset of the seasonal rains in Southern Mauritania, northern Mali and Niger and the eastern Chad causing locust numbers (2) to increase slightly in July and August,” the report stated.

On the weather and ecological conditions, the report highlighted that, mainly dry conditions persisted during June and the inter tropical convergence zone remained south of the summer breeding area in the Sahel. It added that, light rains may have fallen in Mauritania, Mali and Libya and the ecological conditions remained dry in most areas except in parts of Mali, Mauritania and Niger where green vegetation may have been present.

According to the ECLO/FAO monthly locust situation update for June 2007, the report stated that, the several desert locust swarms moved east across northern Somalia from Eastern Ethiopia to Hargeisa and Sanaag, reaching Bosasso last week. “Since then, there have been no new report of locust in Northeast Somalia and only scattered adults are present on the escarpment and coast near Berbera in the Northwest. The situation remains extremely serious and potentially dangerous in Yemen. Widespread egg laying and hatching is in progress within a large area, although the situation remains calm in other regions,” the report noted.

On the desert locust situation, swarms from Ethiopia and Northern Somalia are expected to cross the Indian Ocean and reach India and Pakistan in the next few days and the potentially dangerous situation should be closely monitored. “The recent cyclone have caused heavy down pour of rainfall in Pakistan and pour of rainfall and Western India creating favourable breeding conditions. The two governments are warned and they are mobilising field teams, equipment and resources to launch a control campaign” the report stated.

In The Gambia, the African Emergency Locust Project stated that, the regional locust offices are now operational in all the regions in the country and the teams are mobile with motor vehicles and motorcycles and are undertaking vigorous monitoring. The office further confirmed that, the teams are fully equipped with the necessary control equipment and pesticide stock to respond to any locust or other pest situation during the cropping season.

The AELP Gambia office then advised farmers to report their pest or locust problems to any nearest Agricultural Station or the AELP office in Abuko on 7036451.

Author: Written by Alhagie Jobe
Source: The Daily Observer Newspaper