Laos, China and neigbouring countries discuss locust outbreak in Laos
High-level officials from Laos, China, Vietnam and Thailand have discussed cooperation efforts in the prevention and control of the yellow-spined bamboo locust outbreak in Laos.
A consultation workshop on the management of the yellow-spined bamboo locust outbreak in Laos for 2017 took place yesterday in Vientiane and was co-chaired by Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Dr Bounkhouang Khambounheuang and FAO Representative for Laos, Mr Stephen Rudgard.
Speaking at the workshop, Dr Bounkhouang noted that the yellow-spined bamboo locust outbreak in the region has been devastating for food crops over past years.
The first outbreak of locusts occurred in 1929 in China before spreading to Yunnan province in 2012. There were locust outbreaks in 2008 and 2015 in Vietnam as well.
In Laos, the yellow-spined bamboo locust was first detected in October 2014 in Phonthong district, Luang Prabang province, before spreading to other areas in the province and then to Huaphan and Phongsaly provinces.
Locusts were reported in 140 places in 2014, but in 2015 they had been recorded in more than 500 locations in 14 districts of the three provinces, despite increased efforts to stop them, he said.
Dr Bounkhouang said the yellow-spined bamboo locust outbreak has threatened food security and poverty reduction in Laos especially in the affected provinces.
In response, the government introduced measures on the prevention and control of a locust outbreak in 2016 by increasing responsibility to prevent and destroy locust populations in the northern provinces of Laos.
In the past, the government has received cooperation and technical support from China, Thailand and international organisations such as the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations to combat the locust population and helping to reduce devastation to crops.
However, the government was unable control the outbreaks of locust at all, he added.
There will be locust outbreaks in many districts and more provinces according to the surveillance team from the Agriculture Department, so it needs to pay close attention to prevent and control the locust outbreak to reduce impacts on farmers.
There will be a severe increase of locust outbreaks in 2017 after the surveillance team found an increase of 20-30 percent for locust infestations compared to previous years, said Dr Bounkhouang.
According to an FAO report, this locust species normally emerges in April as it hatches from the previous year's eggs laid in the ground, then feeds and grows for up to four months, before developing wings as it reaches adulthood. The adults mate, lay their eggs in August, and then die.
By Times Reporters
(Latest Update February 21, 2017)