App helps with locust outbreak

02 September 2021 | Disasters

An application to improve early warning of locust outbreaks has been developed by the Food and
Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO).
The latest version of eLocust3m was launched in February last year, and allows for a broader
community of people to be involved in the collection of data. About 30 agricultural extension
officers in Namibia were trained on the use of the application. They were also acquainted with skills
to operate the mobile phone application as a means to strengthen their locust monitoring and
control efforts.
“The app will help us to assess the current situation on the ground and to warn us of the likelihood
of an invasion,” said Margaret Matengu, Chief Agricultural Extension Officer of the Directorate of
Agricultural Production, Extension and Engineering Services within the Ministry of Agriculture, Water
and Land Reform (MAWLR), noting that times of crises are also times for innovation and
Namibia has been battling the African Migratory, Red and Brown locusts. They are known to have
swarmed and damaged grazing in the south of the country and cause the livelihoods and food
security of thousands of households to become under threat.
The app is suitable for difficult and remote locations where monitoring can be a challenge and is
designed for use in areas with no Internet connection, and can also be utilized by community
members and smallholder farmers to report locust sightings.
According to FAO, eLocust3m, an innovative data collection application helps to inform decision
makers on which areas need attention and help to establish to what the extent the locust outbreak
is in order to guide coordination and response efforts. In addition to identifying areas to target with
spraying, the app enables the FAO to provide advance warning to people who have not yet been
affected by invading locust swarms.
Information obtained via the app is used to assess the current situation on the ground, forecast its
development and warn locust affected countries and the international donor community of likely
locust invasions and plagues.
The project is also being implemented in Angola, Botswana, Zambia, and Zimbabwe to safeguard the
food and nutrition security and livelihoods of vulnerable people in African migratory locust (AML)
affected areas.

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