03 November 2019, Ceel-gaal, Somaliland - Mohamed Omar (left), from the Ministry of Agriculture, and Abdilahi Bataax, a farmer (right), hold a desert locusts as they pose for a photo on Abdilahi's farmland in Aisha Ade village, Salal region, Somaliland
Abdilahi says, "The first time I saw the locust was when it rained. The locust has now ibeen here for one month. It has eaten a lot of grass and we have nothing to prevent the damage. Since the beginning of July, swarms of Desert Locust, originating in Yemen, have been invading farmland and rangeland in northern Somalia. These swarms are causing significant losses to crops in Somaliland. Field surveys conducted by the Locust Unit based in Hargeisa, Somaliland confirmed that a new generation of locust breeding has commenced in remote areas in the hinterland. If unchecked, this new generation poses a real risk to crop production throughout Somalia and the wider region. FAO has trained 20 staff from the two Ministries on surveillance, reporting, management and the safe handling, use and storage of bio pesticides. The ministry staff has in turn mobilized affected
communities so they are aware of the danger of this pest and the importance of a community-based early warning approach. Through surveillance and spray operations2, this project has contributed to the protection of approximately 85 000 acres (equivalent to around 34 400 hectares) of cropping land in northern Somalia. As the pest is a threat to both pastoral and farming households, the project will be protecting the livelihoods of entire rural communities.