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Economic and environmentally safer control technologies
The aims of this component are:
  • To make control operations more efficient;
  • To reduce the campaign costs;
  • To reduce the environmental hazards of locust control.

DLCO-EA aircraft have been provided with DGPS equipment to help the pilots to improve spray swath placement during aerial control operations and to allow better recording/management of spraying operations for more targeted and economic pesticide application by air.

Guidelines for sprayer testing have been developed and the experiences with regard to barrier treatment compiled. In collaboration with the International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) the adult Desert Locust pheromone, Phenyl-Aceto-Nitrile (PAN), has been tested in various field trails. The results demonstrated the effects of PAN on the communication system of gregarious nymphs – resulting in the loss of the cohesive behaviour and reduced immunity. Mixing PAN with organophosphates, the application rate could be reduced in these trials by 60 %. The trials on PAN also showed encouraging results on enhancing the effects of metarhizium products and reducing the costs of biocontrol products significantly.

The IPM approach of using biopesticides in Desert Locust control has largely been accepted by the EMPRES /CR countries. The bio-control product Green Muscle® has been registered in . Soon other countries are also expected to follow this example. In a study carried out in demonstrated that metarhizium products have no effects on honey bees and is therefore recommended particularly in ecological sensitive areas.

Several studies on the economic benefits of Desert Locust control in general and preventive control in particular have been conducted under the EMPRES/CR Programme. Because of the complexity of the subject, it was difficult to develop a common understanding. A number of methodological difficulties in evaluating the control efficacy and estimating crop damage, largely related to the mobile and difficult to predict nature of the pest, contributed to this. In addition, it is extremely difficult to estimate economic losses which potentially could have occurred, if control had not been implemented.

However, the effectiveness of preventive strategies as followed by EMPRES /CR could be demonstrated for the first time under real conditions during the upsurge since 2003, which was threatening the Central and the Western Regions. The affected countries in Central Region succeeded to contain the upsurge relatively fast by May 2004, while in the Western Region, in the absence of preventive control strategies, the situation was not brought under control by end of 2004. More than 12 Million ha had been treated against the Desert Locust whereby in the Central Region it was only necessary to carry out control operations on about 220,000 ha.
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