FAO issued a warning in October 2012 that the desert locust could arrive in Algeria, Libya, Mauritania and Morocco in the coming weeks.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has alerted Algeria, Libya, Mauritania and Morocco in the end of October 2012 to prepare for the likely arrival of desert locust swarms from the Sahel in West Africa in the coming weeks.
In July/August 2012 one generation of desert locust breeding occurred in northern Mali, Niger and Chad (see article: Sahel: Serious Desert Locust infestation). Unusually good rains and ecological conditions in the Sahel this summer allowed a second generation of breeding to occur during September/October 2012. It is estimated that the two generations of breeding resulted in about 250 times more locusts being present at the end of the summer than at the beginning.
Currently, swarms of adult locusts are forming in Chad and are about to form in Mali and Niger. As field conditions dry out further, adult groups and swarms will migrate from these countries to Libya, Algeria, Morocco and Mauritania. This is expected to occur from now until late November 2012. In July 2012 already, FAO had warned that this is exactly what could happen if control operations in the summer in Chad, Mali and Niger are not effective.
FAO has been able to monitor the situation in Niger and Chad, but the conflict in Mali has made it very difficult to track the situation there. Control operations, with spraying by ground teams, started in Chad in early October. Similar interventions are beginning now in Niger, though teams must be accompanied by military escorts to ensure their safety.
The hazardous security situation plus difficult access to some locust breeding grounds are constraining control efforts. This makes it unlikely that all locust infestations will be found and treated on the ground - especially in Mali.
FAO has brokered agreements with countries that have available appropriate pesticide stocks - Algeria, Morocco and Senegal - to donate them to Mali, Niger and Chad. This will avoid increasing stockpiles of hazardous chemicals in the region.