The plague of the Sahel
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CTA. 1993. The plague of the Sahel. Spore 46. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/49196
Grasshoppers and locusts: the plague of the Sahel by John Rowley and Olivia Bennett 1993 64pp ISBN 1 870670 24 8 Pbk price UKL7.95 Panos Publications Ltd 9 White Lion Street London N1 9PD UK
In the past 20 years, millions of dollars have been spent fighting locusts in the Sahel; from satellite early warning systems and crop-spraying aircraft to building up village brigades. Yet in 1988 the Sahel suffered one of the worst locust plagues for 30 years. In Senegal alone, locust swarms cleared two million hectares (an area the size of Israel) and destroyed 10% of the nation's harvest. 'Our village lost two-thirds of its production,' said a villager in Niger. 'It seemed as if the more we used the pesticides, the more the locusts resisted them.' But as well as massive and irregular locust plagues, the Sahel suffers from less dramatic but equally damaging attacks by grasshoppers. Grasshoppers are closely related to locusts and both are highly adapted to coping with the environmental conditions in the Sahel. Some species (such as the Senegalese Grasshonper) can survive periods of extreme drought with their eggs remaining dormant until triggered by favourable conditions. It is their ability to adapt, breed fast and to migrate that make locusts and grasshoppers such significant pests. In Grasshoppers and locusts the many controversies in the losing war which the Sahel is waging on the pests are examined. It includes interviews and case study material from journalists and farmers across the Sahel, whose experiences of battling to save their harvests and livelihoods bring the dramatic statistics to life. Grasshoppers and locusts: the plague of the Sahel by John Rowley and Olivia Bennett 1993 64pp ISBN 1 870670 24 8 Pbk price UKL7.95 Panos Publications Ltd 9 White Lion Street London N1 9PD UK