26 April 2015, SANAA
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Representation in Yemen (FAO) in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation, successfully rehabilitated the Desert Locust Monitoring and Control Center (DLMCC) building.
Despite the drastically deteriorating security situation in Yemen, FAO and the Ministry completed the construction in two-months through the financial assistance from the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA). OFDA provided more than $250,000 for the maintenance and related activities.
The DLMCC’s building was damaged during the 2011 Yemen political upheavals which affected its operations and staffs were temporarily relocated to the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation.
Among others, the renovation included painting and rebuilding damaged rooms, repairing doors and the gate, building security room and repairing the sewage system of the building. It also included building a store room for anti-desert locust pesticides with a total fund of $250,000 provided by the OFDA. The overall objective of the project is to reactivate the DLMCC to fulfill its regional and international agreement commitments of controlling desert locusts at breeding areas and implements a preventive control strategy.
Various officials including Dr. Mohamed Al-Ghasm, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation for Agricultural Services, Dr. Mohamed Noman Sallam, the assistant FAO Representative in Yemen and Eng. Abdullah Al-Sayyani, General Manager of the Plant Protection Department, visited the DLMCC’s building to ensure that the renovation was done in line with the required standards.
“The renovation of the DLMCC’s building will enable the center to achieve its tasks in the monitoring and control operations which will enhance crops protection and pastures to enforce the food security,” Dr. Salah El-Hajj Hassan, the FAO Representative in Yemen said.
He also appreciated the assistance of OFDA saying that it will upgrade monitoring operations of the desert locust movements and the dissemination of information to all national, regional and international stakeholders to implement an effective preventive strategy during desert locust outbreak.
He called on the donors to meet their pledges to allow the FAO to support the agricultural sector and farmers because the crops season is about to begin amidst hard environment that farmers and their households suffer. He wished that peace dominates soon in Yemen and that dialogue is preferred over weapons.
For his part, Dr. Mohamed Al-Ghasm, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation for Agricultural Services, highlighted the importance of the project which will contribute at saving income sources of millions of farmers.
He added that FAO activities proved resilient against the hard conditions the country experiences.”
FAO efforts in the desert locust control in Yemen
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) through its Emergency Response to the Desert Locust Crisis in Yemen supported the DLMCC in 2014 with sprayers, pesticide, e-locusts, first aid kits, vehicle spare parts, modern technology equipments and protective clothing to carry out control operations and surveys in breeding areas and improve the DLMCC information system. It also trained technicians from the Ministry of Agriculture on controlling, monitoring and surveying and organized awareness training for beekeepers on the safety of using the bio-pesticide (Green Muscle) against locusts where beehives exist.
The desert locust controlling campaigns covered 63,640 hectares in winter and summer breeding areas between September 2013 and mid Feb 2014. During these campaigns, ground control teams treated hopper bands and adult groups on the northern west coast of the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden and interior locations in Marib, Shabwa and Hadramout. These campaigns protected sorghum, millet, sesame and pastures from locust destruction in the Tehama region that were vulnerable in the previous year.
The DLMCC through the FAO Emergency Response to the Desert Locust Crisis in Yemen has been able to carry out periodical surveys on the movement of the desert locusts since October 2014.
The desert locust infestation damaged in 2013 different variety of crops in Hajja and Hodeida located in the northern western coast on the Red Sea known as Tehama region worth $36 million affecting incomes of 6,500 households due to limited control operations taken in late 2013, according to the estimation of the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation. The most affected crops included sorghum, millet and sesame. The damage of DLMCC building in the capital Sanaá and the looting of its pesticides stores during the 2011 political amidst government cash shortage paralyzed the center to take instant action when the desert locusts invaded the country in June 2013.