7 July 2021, Dushanbe – Locust infestations are severely threatening Tajikistan’s agriculture. Led by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), a wider effort delivered tires for various vehicles used in locust operations as well electronic gadgets, to support locust management in Tajikistan.

Using FAO’s own sources through a Technical Cooperation Programme, the emergency preparedness and response project aims to secure livelihoods, feed and food security of the populations living in the infested areas, including improved locust control through modern equipment, effective techniques, and proven solutions to control the locusts in Tajikistan.

Locust outbreaks and upsurges, particularly in Khatlon and Sughd provinces and Districts of Republican Subordination, are very destructive as locusts attack pastures and a wide range of crops. The livelihoods and food security of farmers in these regions, as well as in neighbouring areas, suffer greatly from crops and pasture damages caused by locust swarms.

The tires for tractors, all-terrain vehicles with sprayers, and for motorbikes will be used by the State Entity “Locust Control Expedition” of the Ministry of Agriculture.

Earlier, locust and agriculture specialists in the locust-affected areas have participated in trainings and workshops on locust monitoring and response in the framework of this FAO project. Appropriate locust monitoring entails improved early warning and response mechanisms to locust outbreaks, as well as establishing proper and timely control operations, leading ultimately better protection of crops and pastures.

“Locust populations still remain in the affected districts, especially in remote, hard-to-reach areas where surveillance or control operations are difficult,” said Oleg Guchgeldiyev, FAO Representative in Tajikistan. “It is crucial to maintain and increase control efforts using ground survey and control teams, as well as reporting that enables data to be recorded and transmitted to the national locust center. The project is aimed at the ensuring the relevant capacity of responsible agency for monitoring, early warning and timely response. As locust outbreaks will continue threaten the country’s agricultural sector and rural livelihoods, support should continue as well.”

Further assistance to the State Entity “Locust Control Expedition” in the form of technical knowledge and skills, as well as equipment to control locust infestations is granted by a regional FAO project strengthening regional coordination and efforts against locust implemented in six Central Asian countries with financial support from the Japanese government.

Tajikistan’s goal with its preventive locust control strategy is to reduce the number of infested and treated hectares, and the negative impacts of control operations on human health and the environment, and also to protect the food security and livelihoods of highly vulnerable rural communities.