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Update on Locust Control Programme (FAO/CERF)




Update on Locust Control Programme

6 June 2016

Update on Lao PDR Government control program to manage continuing outbreak of Yellow Spined Bamboo Locust nymphs in Luangprabang, Phongsali and Huaphan provinces.  

·         Populations of nymphs (hoppers) are mainly at the fifth instar (final development stages of five followed by adult stage) with initial sightings of adults in some districts. Swarms are expected to form across the northern region by late June ;

·         The hoppers have begun to leave the bamboo forests having severely depleted this food resource in areas surrounding egg bed/hatching sites. Marching bands of nymphs have been reported across several districts as these groups cross roads or move into cleared areas of cultivation;

·         Some limited crop damage has been confirmed by the FAO team in Hiam, Aet,  Huamaung and Xan Neua districts (upland rice, maize, bananas and sugar cane), and losses in other districts are being monitored by Government and local authorities;

·         Control teams staffed by District level government employees are operating  across all 13 locust affected districts, with backstopping from MAF Department of Agriculture (DOA);

·         The control teams are actively spraying hopper bands, with the assistance of local villagers acting as water carriers and guides.  At this stage of the campaign the control priority is to protect crops directly at risk. In many areas DOA have also trained local villagers to carry out spraying to protect threatened crops and supplied villages with limited supplies of spraying equipment and pesticide ;

·         Spraying is easier to carry out on the relatively open cropping areas but the control teams are still experiencing difficulties in accessing and treating all known populations of hoppers;

·         Main problems for control teams – access to sites, working on steep slopes, increasing daily rainfall limiting timing of spraying and continuing requirement for additional supplies of protective clothing for spraying (goggles, gloves, face masks & shoes - using at a faster rate than expected).  In some districts local DOA has addressed this issue by purchasing their own supplies;

·         Planting of maize and upland rice crops has been delayed slightly in some districts as villages wait to for the nymphs to develop into adults and move out their area (in 2015 adult swarms did not damage rice or maize crops but actively sought out new areas of bamboo as a source of food);

·         Local assistance is being coordinated by District Locust Management Committees working with all villages in affected districts (meetings held to explain locust threat, address any community concerns and need for community involvement in management response);

·         Generally a very high level of cooperation from villagers who are concerned about possible loss of crops (upland rice, maize and Job’s Tears) ;

·         Plant Protection Centre (PPC) staff have completed their role assisting and training DOA teams with surveillance activities  and returned to Vientiane.  DOA staff are now undertaking surveillance activities in affected districts, in addition to the control activities;

·         An 8 person team from China PR,  Ministry of Agriculture visited Phonthong, Viengkham, Hiam and Xon districts (29 May – 7 June) to assess the locust situation;   

·         The first tranche of Government funds to support field teams in Luangprabang and Phongsali provinces is almost expended, and replenishment not yet confimed.  In Huaphan province, additional funds (LAK 50 million) have been provided by the provincial Government to support limited control activities in Aet and Xan Neua districts (these districts were not included in the original MAF funding plan) ;

·         An active communication campaign is underway with newspaper, TV, radio coverage, and community loudspeaker systems of the locust situation and the Government response to the emergency;


Update on contribution from the FAO-CERF project

·         FAO International Locust consultant and FAO team have been in the field since 3 May and have now visited all 12 locust affected districts in northern Lao PDR (including Pakou, Khoa and Aet districts which were not included in the original locust management plan – substantial populations of nymphs were located in Aet district). They worked with DOA surveillance & control teams in each district to assess the locust situation, assist with technical issues and advise on operational planning if required;

·         FAO team met with visiting Chinese MOA team in Hiam district on 2 June and guided them to several treatment sites and areas with crop damage, and also had discussions regarding control strategies currently used with this pest in southern China;

·         24 pick-up 4X4 vehicles with drivers,  provided by FAO-CERF, are operational across 8 districts;

·         Support has been provided to PPC surveillance teams (mobility costs) and provincial control teams under a Letter of Agreement with MAF, and the second payment has been made.


Jun 10th 2016

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