If it wasn’t for COVID-19, the locust crisis would be the most significant challenge facing Africa this decade:
In addition to the specific locust crisis, climate-triggered events such as this are predicted to become more frequent in an ever-changing climate.
“Although desert locusts have been here since biblical times, recent intense outbreaks can be linked to anthropogenic climate change and the increased frequency of extreme weather events” – Nature Magazine
Farmers can use weather intelligence to mitigate risk and seek opportunity at scale by focusing on two areas of opportunity:
1. On Time Alerts And Insights: We here at TomorrowNow.org are adapting Tomorrow.io’s scalable alerting system for public good
2. Just in Time Trainings: We Are working with partners including Digital Green to create digital content that teaches other farmers what ‘on farm ‘ climate action they can take to protect and empower their communities (Digital Green).
Having seen what certain farmers in Africa have accomplished in the past 18 months, we have witnessed first hand the impressive ability to turn the climate crisis into opportunity.
“There were times I could collect 10 kilos in just a few hours. This was very helpful as we had missed rains for a long time and we didn’t have food. We used the money from the locusts to buy food for our families.” – FARMER who participated in The Bug Picture Project
Through a 6 week pilot in northern Kenya in early 2021 led by the Bug Picture, 4,300 kg of live locusts were harvested by community members and $2,000 paid out in cash-for-work. The live locusts were processed into locust meal which is rich in protein ready for inclusion in animal feed, and compost which is rich in nitrogen. These agricultural inputs are critical to farmers and expensive to purchase in the market.
“Predictive data would allow our teams to move IN FRONT of the swarms, empowering more farmers and creating far more impact” – Laura Stanford, CEO The Bug Picture
Community-based, localized insights will provide millions of farmers with the ability to be better prepared, make smarter, crop-saving decisions and directly benefit from desert locust infestations and help avoid future climate crisis with on-time alerts and just in time training. In addition, leveraging Tomorrow.io’s all in one platform for public good will give us the competitive advantage we need to stay one step ahead and #weathertheswarm.
To learn more about the locust crisis and how you can get involved see the links below: