The Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture has successfully concluded in February the desert locust control operations in winter season in the southwestern coast of the Kingdom, as well as clearing operations in the winter breeding zones in Makkah, Asir, Baha, and Jazan which have been cleared of any gregarious hoppers or adults of desert locust.
The ministry confirmed that it has completed field control operations in 17000 hectares during the winter-spring seasons from February 1 to 15. The ministry made great efforts focusing on limiting swarms and groups in the Kingdom to reduce the threat level of desert locust in all the neighboring countries and to prevent forming locust swarms and groups in the country.
The ministry pointed out that the desert locust situation, from December to the middle of February, in the spring season was deteriorated due to the dreaded invasion of swarms coming from Yemen and Oman which were affected by swarms from the Pakistan-India border. It has also confirmed that the control operations will continue even though the swarms are still moving to search for areas of suitable conditions for maturation and breeding.
Further desert locust swarms are expected to invade the Kingdom within the next few weeks due to the high-density swarms and groups in Yemen. Also, swarms are expected to start mating and copulating as beginning of spring breeding season in March in the central and northern regions of Saudi Arabia when temperature is moderate and spring rain falls. Then, they will migrate towards summer breeding areas in the neighboring countries.
Locust situation in neighboring countries
Based on the FAO's latest desert locust bulletin, the South East Africa and Yemen is facing the worst desert locust crisis and unprecedented threat to food security in over 25 years. New generations are forming as they are continue breeding, which causes to double the numbers and sizes of swarms.
The ministry pointed out that the FAO, in its periodic report on January 28, urged to intensify survey operations, increase vigilance and being prepared to face the desert locust threat in all the countries in breeding seasons. It also called on training the experts in the second frontline countries to gain experience in desert locust control and survey from workers in the same field in the Kingdom.