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UN targets Madagascar locusts

The UN FAO is leading a locust control programme involving the application of pesticides across 300,000 ha of Madagascar. A build up of locusts in the south-west of the island threatens the livelihoods of 13 million people, the FAO says. The Organisation is calling for funds and materials. Locust-infested territory is to be treated from November this year until May 2012 at an estimated cost of $7.6 million. An upsurge in March last year was met with the aerial spraying of some 200,000 ha infested by locusts, while ground-based control measures were deployed over 27,000 ha and are continuing. A biopesticide for use against locusts and grasshoppers was also employed “for the first time on a large scale”. The measures averted a plague, but weather conditions this year have triggered a renewed growth in locust populations.

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