The desert locust, Schistocerca gregaria (Forskal), is arguably the most destructive agricultural pest, globally. During 2019 and 2020, the changing weather created conditions that are favoured by the desert locust for rapid reproduction and migration and led to the pest spreading through the Horn of Africa, East Africa, Arabian Peninsula, South West Asia and West Africa. It is estimated that over 25 million people in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania will face acute food insecurity in 2020 due to the desert locust plague. This initiative tests the use of drones as a new technology to complement traditional desert locust management measures, including the development of Standard Operating Procedures for optimal use of the technology. The project is initially trialled in Kenya with the potential for scaling to other affected African countries.
The East African Community (EAC) represents one of the fastest-growing regional economic communities in the world. However, trade of agricultural products, from and within this region, has been hindered by factors including Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) issues. The project will assess the SPS systems and identify challenges and opportunities for further investments.