Strategies to Control the South American Migratory Locust
Strategies to Control the South American Migratory Locust
Argentina and Bolivia working together to control the locust plague outbreak and design a regional locust control plan

Challenges

In South America, the migratory locust is distributed in an extensive area of around 4 million km², including the north of Argentina, Bolivia, the south of Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay and the north of Chile, which presents the maximum invasion rate registered. In 2017, the Department of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia declared a phytosanitary emergency due to the invasion of this plague and was forced to fumigate more than 1,000 ha of maize, sorghum, soybean, bean and cotton. These insects have great dispersion capacity (up to 150 km/day) and great voracity, and represent a huge menace for all agriculture activity in the region, putting food security at serious risk. 

Towards a Solution

The main objective of this project was to build monitoring and plague control methodologies through the exchange of knowledge and joint work between Argentina and Bolivia in order to address the food security challenge that the migratory locust represents to the population of Bolivia, hence contributing to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2.

In the context of the phytosanitary emergency in Bolivia, Argentine experts from the National Institute of Agricultural Technology (INTA) and the National Service of Agri-Food Health and Quality (SENASA) provided technical assistance and worked together with the Bolivian authorities and technicians in order to fight the locust, adjusting the contingency plan to the specific characteristics of the affected area so as to have a more effective and timely control of the plague outbreak. A total of 50 Bolivian technicians were trained in modern plague monitoring methodologies, which contributed to the development of systematized and unified monitoring, as well as studies on population dynamics and locust feeding. Within the framework of the project, research projects were developed that allowed to acquire knowledge about the biological cycle of the pest.

These exchanges aimed to allow Bolivia to adopt technical and administrative measures to develop effective intervention strategies against the plague. As a result, the national authorities designed and implemented the Bolivian National Program for Locust Control.

As a direct consequence of the implementation of this project, and with the aim of addressing the plague in a sustainable and collaborative manner, Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay signed the Regional Working Plan for Locust Management. This Plan will help coordinate and implement joint phytosanitary actions among the countries for the management of the plague in order to contribute to the sustainability of the agricultural production and native forest of the region.

Also as a result of the successful implementation of the project, the three countries agreed to develop two projects with regional impact: one project consists in setting up interconnected computer systems to improve the availability of phytosanitary digital information at the regional level; and the other project consists in implementing the necessary mechanisms between the technical offices of the three countries to contain the plague of the South American locust at a regional level, minimizing the risk for agricultural activity.

These three initiatives will favour cooperation between countries in order to avoid the spread of plagues, protect the environment, and provide phytosanitary security for exports and greater transparency to regulations. Having accessible information on the main crops and natural ecosystems of a country and the plagues that affect them is the basis for establishing a joint phytosanitary surveillance mechanism, which will help reduce the negative effects of plagues on food production, protecting employment, industry and the service sector, as central parts of the productive chain.

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Contact Information

General Directorate for International Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Worship, Argentina

Countries involved

Argentina, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Paraguay

Supported by

Argentine Fund for International Cooperation (FO.AR)

Implementing Entities

Argentina: General Directorate for International Cooperation (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Worship), National Service of Agri-Food Health and Quality (SENASA) and the National Institute of Agricultural Technology (INTA) Bolivia: Vice Ministry of Public Investment and External Financing (Ministry of Development Planning), National Service of Agricultural Health and Food Safety (SENASAG)

Project Status

Completed

Project Period

2017 - 2019

Primary SD

02 - Zero Hunger

Secondary SDGs

17 - Partnerships for the Goals

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