SDG success story: Locust-Tec
In various regions of the world, locust outbreaks and plagues pose a serious threat to agriculture, food security and the environment. In Africa, South America, Central Asia, the Caucasus, Australia and southern Europe, there have been numerous local and supra-regional locust outbreaks in recent years. Locust outbreaks and plagues cause considerable economic damage and threaten the livelihoods of the local population. Increasingly hot and prolonged droughts in temperate zones and more frequent heavy rainfall over desert areas – both made more likely by climate change – encourage outbreaks of various species, as do changes in land use in the locusts’ habitats. Aside from the direct threat the locusts pose to food security, measures to control them often involve the use of toxic chemicals. These chemicals also lead to the destruction of other insects and wildlife, the contamination of entire ecosystems, and health hazards for the local population.
To improve this situation, the German-Kazakh project Locust-Tec has developed and tested innovative technologies for monitoring and predicting locust outbreaks in Kazakhstan as part of the BMBF funding measure CLIENT II. The project has three objectives, namely to improve locust outbreak prediction, monitoring and preventive control of locust outbreaks. To achieve these goals, the project team is using modern technologies such as remote sensing, drones and targeted digital data collection and transmission. The information gained from this improved monitoring enables farmers and other relevant actors to start combating acute outbreaks earlier. Outbreaks that are still in the early stages can be better controlled using environmentally friendly methods such as biopesticides, and traditional or mechanical strategies. In this way, the large-scale use of insecticides can be significantly reduced.
The Locust-Tec project is supporting farmers and the local economy in Kazakhstan, but the technologies and the app that the project has developed can be scaled up and applied in other countries and regions of the world far beyond Kazakhstan – and can be used for other agricultural pests and diseases. The preventive approach also helps to prevent plagues from spreading more extensively in the region, preventing wider impacts on international supply chains. In this way, the project has the potential to make an important contribution to global food security (SDG 2) and the protection of local ecosystems (SDG 15). In addition, the project also indirectly contributes to SDG 3 "Good Health and Well-being", SDG 12 "Responsible Consumption and Production" and SDG 17 "Partnerships for the Goals".