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Mauritania is Testing Drones In Fight To Minimise Desert Locusts Damages

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Mauritania is testing drones in its fight against desert locusts. This also part of efforts by a UN body to minimise the damage the pest wrecks on crops in Africa.


Desert locusts are serious threats to food security in West Africa. The hope is that aerial technology will provide an upper hand in the fight against these pests.


The second round of tests will happen from 26th to 31st January 2020. It will confirm the durability and adaptability of drones in different desert conditions, according to Sahara Media news agency.


Mauritania Testing Drones in fight against desert locusts
Swarm of locusts in action.


“The drones will track and monitor desert locusts and instigate early-warning operations before the swarms arrive so that appropriate action can be taken,” according to a source.

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UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) allocated 1.5 million dollars to FAO’s West Africa joint committee to conduct the previous tests in 2018  to prevent damage caused by locusts in the region, according to the then Mauritanian Agriculture Minister, Lemina Mint El-Kotob Ould Momma.

Desert Locusts is the world’s most dangerous migratory pest

This year’s tests will confirm whether there are improvements, making the drones more useable in the harsh desert conditions, and also pave the way for a more widespread use in the region.


Meanwhile, hopes are that the tests will strengthen the capacity of other countries in West Africa, and improve cooperation between them in the fight against these Pests.


FAO’s Western Africa joint locust control force was established in 2016. Its member nations include Mauritania, Algeria, Burkina Faso, Morocco, Niger, Senegal, Chad, Libya, and Mali.


According to  FAO, the desert locust (schistocerca gregaria) is the world’s “most dangerous migratory pest, with a voracious appetite unmatched in the insect world”.


Swarms can travel up to 130km (80 miles) per day, and can contain up to 80 million locusts.


They cause major crop damage and hunger. Locusts are a species of grasshopper that live largely solitary lives until a combination of conditions promote breeding and lead them to form massive swarms


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