AKIPRESS.COM - Agriculture is an important sector in the national economies of Caucasus and Central Asian countries, and locusts can cause severe damages.
However, technology developed by FAO allows anti-locust services to view online locust data collected in the field. These data can be used to establish forecasts and aid in decisions on operations to limit harm from locusts on crops and pastures, FAO said.
A refresher course on this technology – an automated system for data collection and a customized Geographic Information System (GIS) – has been organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
The course is part of a programme to improve national and regional locust management in the Caucasus and Central Asia, in a project funded by the Government of Japan and the Japan International Cooperation Agency concerning Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. The ultimate goal of improved locust management is to protect crops and pastures and thus support farmers.
The course takes place in Dushanbe from 24 to 29 September. In total, 21 participants are expected to attend the event, including management and specialists from the Locust Control Expedition of the Ministry of Agriculture of Tajikistan and from the Department of Plant Protection and Quarantine in Afghanistan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock.
Users of this system can get acquainted with the locust situation not only in their own countries, but also in neighboring ones, including in border areas. This is of crucial importance, considering that locusts are a transboundary problem and that the cornerstone of prevention is the timely exchange of information.
During this refresher course, locust and GIS specialists from Afghanistan and Tajikistan will benefit from theoretical and practical classes on the use of the automated system for data collection. They’ll also learn how to make situation analyses and create locust forecasts, as well as to build maps reflecting the actual distribution of locusts and locust infestations. The event will also allow specialists from the two countries to strengthen their technical network.
The three-year project funded by the Government of Japan and the Japan International Cooperation Agency was started in December 2015. It is part of the FAO multi-funded “Programme to improve national and regional locust management in Caucasus and Central Asia (CCA),” which was launched in 2011 to the benefit of ten countries: Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
The programme’s main objective is to contribute to the food security and livelihoods of rural populations in the Caucasus and Central Asia by preventing and limiting the threats posed by locusts and damage to crops and rangelands. The expected outcome is that national and regional locust management will be improved through the development of increased national capacities and regional cooperation.