Israel extends support to Ethiopia to combat the locust menace

(Photo: Anteneh Aklilu)

The Israeli government has offered a helping hand to the Ethiopian government with the provision of 27 drowns and equipment as well as offering training to combat the desert locusts.
Following the request by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, Israel’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gabi Ashkenazi instructed to deploy an ad-hoc task force of locust fighters and experts to Ethiopia in order to join forces with their Ethiopian counterparts and control the spread of the swarms in the country.
During the past few months, Ethiopia faced an overwhelming invasion of desert locust swarms that damaged crops and pasture fields in many regions.
Embassy of Israel in Addis Ababa is now leading the operation, in coordination with the Ethiopian concerned bodies.

(Photo: Anteneh Aklilu)

Israel’s top locust expert, Yoav Mortro heads the task force, which includes three additional members who specialize in different fields of expertise.
The task force plans to operate in Ethiopia for two weeks, during which it will demonstrate and train more than 200 Ethiopian locust fighters, governmental agencies, and international organizations representatives.
The task force brings more than 2 tons of equipment and advanced appliances that will be handed over to the Ethiopian authorities with the conclusion of the operation.
According to the embassy, Israel is thrilled to share is experience and know-how with Ethiopia.
This operation symbolizes the strong and long-lasting relations between Israel and Ethiopia, which are demonstrated during normal and challenging times.
Members of the task force met Ethiopian officials from the Ministry of Agriculture on Wednesday 11th November 2020.
Desert locust is one of the most destructive pests, as it is highly mobile and feed on large quantities of any kind of green vegetation, including crops, pasture, and fodder.
In most cases, the common response to locust swarms invasion is aerial spraying of crops using pesticides.
Israeli researchers developed a unique and innovative method, based on the accumulated experience with these phenomena in Israel.
This cutting-edge method is based on daytime surveillance by drones and data analysis of the swarm’s movement, followed by night spraying while the pests are static.

(Photo: Anteneh Aklilu)

According to the World Food Organization, In Ethiopia, a few immature swarms persist in the Afar region while more immature swarms are present in the Somali region between Jijiga and Degeh Bur, some of which are maturing. In the Ogaden, second and third instar hopper bands are present between Warder and the Somalia border, and at least one swarm has laid eggs near Kebri Dehar.
“Important and widespread breeding continues in eastern Ethiopia and central Somalia where new swarms are expected to start forming in early December and move south to Kenya and southern Somalia by mid-December. Control operations are underway,” stated FAO signaling another round of swarm.