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Centre for Agricultural Bioscience International (CABI) 2020

Drones for desert locust control in East Africa

Drones Desert Locust

Centre for Agricultural Bioscience International (CABI)

Titre : Drones for desert locust control in East Africa

Région /Pays : Kenya

Date : Start : 01/09/2020

The desert locust, Schistocerca gregaria (Forskal), is arguably the most destructive agricultural pest, globally. During 2019 and 2020, the changing weather created conditions that are favoured by the desert locust for rapid reproduction and migration and led to the pest spreading through the Horn of Africa, East Africa, Arabian Peninsula, South West Asia and West Africa. It is estimated that over 25 million people in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania will face acute food insecurity in 2020 due to the desert locust plague.

This initiative tests the use of drones as a new technology to complement traditional desert locust management measures, including the development of Standard Operating Procedures for optimal use of the technology. The project is initially trialled in Kenya with the potential for scaling to other affected African countries.

CABI and Astral-Aerial have partnered to pilot the use of drones to control the desert locust. The technology works by equipping Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), or drones, with specially-designed and calibrated spraying equipment that enables mapping and precision spraying.

This pilot evaluates the benefits and efficiency of using drone technology as a complementary spraying method to manage locusts, including its effect on other beneficial insects and the environment. In the future, drone technology could be adapted for deployment of a biopesticide product based on the fungus Metarhizium acridum (GreenMuscle™ – a biological product CABI worked on and is now licensed through Elephant Vert) against hopper bands (a cohesive mass of young desert locusts) for sustainable control of future generations.

The drones will also be used to conduct post spraying mapping and ground sampling to determine the extent of desert locust eradication from spraying operations. Critical data on locust roosting behaviour on different crops and agro-ecologies will guide high precision targeting of the drone spray activities.

Partenaires : Astral-Aerial ; County Governments in project areas ; Ministry of Agriculture Livestock Fisheries and Cooperatives (MALFC)

Donateur : Foreign Commonweath Development Office (FCDO) through the Frontier Technology Livestreaming

Présentation : CABI

Page publiée le 31 août 2021