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Chad appeals for US$9 million to fight growing locust threat

A plane sprays pesticide on a swarm of desert locusts devouring grazing land.
The UN says more planes are needed to fight the locust invasion (FAO)

Chad appealed to the international community on Tuesday for US$9 million to help tackle locust swarms that have started destroying crops in the west of the Central African country.

“ We fear a locust invasion before December, and we have developed an emergency action plan for the summer period running from August to December to fight locusts,” Foreign Minister Nagoum Yamassoun told a meeting of donor country representatives in the capital N'djamena.

Ndoubabe Tigaye, the director of the plant protection unit of the Ministry of Agriculture, told IRIN afterwards that an intensive control campaign would have to be carried out over the next four months.

"We need 10 prospection and treatment teams equipped with 30 vehicles and 150,000 litres of pesticides to treat 200,000 hectares, we need logistics support,” he said

“In the event of a real invasion, we will need to charter crop spraying planes and repair landing strips as well,” he added.

To date, Chad has only four field locust detection teams deployed across its vast and sparsely populated territory, most of which is desert and dry savannah.

The Foreign Minister said locust swarms which flew into Chad last week from neighbouring Niger had destroyed 30 hectares of crops near Lake Chad and the government was checking reports that concentrations of the flying insects had been sighted near Ati, 450 km west of the capital.

«Two locust swarms destroyed 30 hectares of cultures in the Mahana village, in the Ngouri Zone [in the Kanem region, western Chad],» Yamassoun said.

Elsewhere in the Sahel belt on the southern fringes of the Sahara, locust swarms flying south from Morocco and Algeria have already caused heavy damage to crops and pasture in Mauritania, Mali, Niger and Senegal and have begun breeding there.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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