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Drones for the monitoring and control of the Desert Locust plagues

The Desert Locust plagues are one of the most dangerous and destructive plagues in the world,  causing great damage to agricultural resources.

Large barren and remote areas from the West of Africa to India, totalling approximately 16 million square kilometres, are affected by this problem. These areas include some of the poorest countries in the world, whose economic losses amount to 570 million dollars and millions of people directly affected.

The current methodologies and tools are costly, polluting and inefficient both in early detection and in plague control and monitoring. Also, the use of aircraft like air planes or helicopters  exceeds the budget and is not very accessible.  Consequently, new solutions are needed to support the plague control centre and the field teams.

HEMAV in collaboration with the FAO and the CSIC, has launched a project that integrates the drone technology in the different phases of prevention and action, aimed at providing support to the current project “FAO Desert Locust early warning system”. This way, long-range drones will be used to map the critical areas as well as automated rotors able to detect and fumigate the infected areas.

locust rain

This system will be implemented in several countries through the FAO. Its final implementation is expected in 2019.

The project is lead by Carlos Ferraz (director of innovation), Arnau García (innovation engineer), Keith Cressman (FAO) and Agustín Lobo (ICTJA-CSIC).

 

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