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Project Locust #WeatherTheSwarm Kicks off with Working Meeting Involving Notable Experts in Desert Locust Response
August 19, 20215 min read

Project Locust #WeatherTheSwarm Kicks off with Working Meeting Involving Notable Experts in Desert Locust Response

Guest Author: Kenneth Chepkwony, Kenarava Group Ltd

The newly-launched Project Locust convened an expert meeting on August 11, 2021 to gather insights from experienced first responders and relevant stakeholders at the forefront of fighting the world’s most destructive migratory pest – the desert locust.

Themed “Let’s Beat The Desert Locust Together”, the event was organized by Project Locust partners, including TomorrowNow.org, Kenarava Group, Digital Green and The Bug Picture, as the first step towards building a farmer-first solution to Desert Locust infestations, driven by weather intelligence.

The event took an interactive approach through three sessions that began with identifying the gaps and areas of opportunity for supporting on-farm farmer Desert Locust preparedness and engagement. 

The second and third sessions converged expert feedback on the Project Locust approach, and established practical actions to ensure that the entire Desert Locust response community worked together.

Some of the experts who participated in the meeting include Hamisi Williams (Assistant Country Representative Kenya at United Nations FAO), Ambrose Ngetich (Field Officer at FAO Kenya), Boniface Akuku (ICT Director at KALRO), Emma Mwangi (Agriculture and Climate Researcher at Kenya Red Cross), Dr. Chrysantus Tanga (Research Scientist at ICIPE), James Egonyu (Scientist at ICIPE), Annalyse Kehs (Executive Director of PlantVillage), Dr. Dino Martins (Entomologist at Mpala Research Center), and Dr. Yoav Motro (Pest Specialist and Advisor to the Israeli Government on Desert Locust)

The Consensus: Weather Intelligence and Farmer-First Desert Locust Response

The team of experts lauded Project Locust’s farmer-first approach of combining weather intelligence and digital tools in ensuring that the local farmer participates in the decision-making process of building a climate-smart Desert Locust response system.

Here are some memorable quotes from the meeting:

  • “Desert Locust infestations are a weather issue: they come with weather and also go by weather” – Hamisi Williams, Assistant Country Representative Kenya at United Nations FAO.
  • “Digital tools and box SMS systems can be used to share early warnings and information on Desert Locust swarm movements” – Dr. Chrysantus Tanga, Research Scientist at ICIPE.
  • “Desert Locust response should include the local community and farmers as key informants for practical actions” – Ambrose Ngetich, Field Officer and Desert Locust Expert at United Nations FAO.
  • “We must all shift from a reactive to a proactive approach when dealing with Desert Locust Infestations. Information sharing is critical” – Dino Martins, Entomologist at Mpala Research Center.
  • “While the accelerated presence and destructive behaviour of locusts and other migratory pests can be attributed to changing weather patterns, the solution and action also lies in the weather.” – Georgina Campbell Flatter, TomorrowNow.org 

Want to join/contribute to our ongoing conversation? Check out the #WeatherTheSwarm hashtag on all social media platforms.

About Project Locust

We are a multistakeholder team who are working together to build a climate action system aimed at delivering community-based, localized insights that will provide millions of farmers with the ability to be better prepared, make crop-saving decisions and directly benefit from desert locust infestations.

We are leveraging:

  • The convening power of TomorrowNow.org
  • The weather intelligence and SaaS tools of Tomorrow.io.
  • Kenarava’s farmer-first on the ground experience with smallholder farmers.
  • Digital Green’s farmer-first multi-channel digital extension approach.
  • The Bug Picture’s substantial learnings of on-farm control of desert locusts.

Project Locust won the Inspire Prize 2020 by CGIAR Platform for Big Data, is supported by ICARDA and also funded by JDC Grid.

Want to Learn More? 

We are just getting started, and there are plenty of ways to learn more and get involved. 

    • Follow us on Twitter using the hashtag: #WeathertheSwarm
    • Here you can find a Project Summary that captures the key elements of the project 
    • Check out our blog page with Frequently Asked Questions which we are updating as we go to address top of mind questions from the community 
    • You can also find updates and information about previous and upcoming activities on our Project Locust webpage 
  • Get in touch