ECHOcommunity Conversations

Survival farming

In recent weeks farmers in Uganda and elsewhere have suffered floods, covid-19 and now locusts.
Many of them have only survived as they are growing a locust-resistant cover crop!

It puzzles me enormously has no one here has even mentioned the locust attacks now underway and forecast to increase in the future.
Has no one seen the FAO report

Is it not time to discuss how to survive locust attacks.
There has been nothing much here about locusts since 1994 and that report did not mention the use of Neem!
Graham Knight

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Malathion may be a solution. It is not expensive relative to the loss of crops and it works. It is commonly used for mosquito spraying in developed countries and even fogged in cities. As an government extension agent for Michigan State University I used to set up spray programs for communities for mosquito control and Gypsy moth control and through monitoring I saved the communities in one county alone about $100,000 because the population of Gypsy moths was crashing due to naturally occurring biological bacteria and virus and fungus bio-controls. Without monitoring they would have gone ahead and sprayed all the communities and as a result of a group of volunteer surveyors I organized, only about 5% land mass of the communities needed spraying. IPM and weather data can be useful in prediction, observation and prevention of damage. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/marauding-locust-swarms-killed-in-dausa-with-insecticide-spray/article31682188.ece Lets be careful with neem. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6290558/ It has phytotoxic effects on plants and it does little to discourage insects relative to recommended organic and inorganic pesticides that kill the insect. I have tried neem extract on grasshoppers and it did not work at all and I know people are going to argue about me not making a potent enough extract. All in all, neem has its good applications for medicines, etc. but it too, and other both organic and inorganic pesticides must be evaluated for both pesticidal efficacy and risks from exposure. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12098-013-1327-x I don’t recommend neem because of low efficacy and if you choose to be organic a pyrethroid is going to be much more effective. We need to be very careful what we recommend because time is of essence when you are controlling locusts and if you use something ineffective or have to first mash up some neem leaves/fruit/seed in large volume to make an extract the crop can be severely damaged already. Malathion does not appreciably bioaccumulate so there is even the possibility of collecting the sprayed locusts, dry them in the sun which makes them less weight and helps break down the malathion and process them into chicken and pig feed as the protein portion or as a high protein component mixed with a lower protein component such as a legume which also supplies vitamins and you then have to mix in some other ingredients but a locust invasion in your area may mean it is time to order Malathion and become a custom applicator and significantly bless your community with a mutual exchange protecting their crops and also order some chicks or pigs and capitalize on the opportunity to make feed and also sell out feed to others.

Graham,
What is the “locust-resistant cover crop” ?

One of the great challenges human is facing this season but I pray there will always be a solution.

Dear Robert,
In Uganda, subsistence farmers have been, until recently, growing cover crops to re-fertilize their soil.
Among those CC tried were Jack beans and they were adopted by many hundreds of small farmers who came to realise that they could sell the beans when mature.
However this all came to an end when disaster struck and many lost their main crops from recent floods and then locusts.
What they then noticed was that the Jack beans had largely survived both attacks and, now near starving, they then discovered that the young leaves could be eaten!

As the news spreads we are faced with a dire situation with so many others going hungry!
Some of the farmers, who have Jack beans growing, are having their fields raided for the leaves and others are demanding a supply of Jack Bean seeds!
Who will help?
The main charities seem not concerned even though few dollars can save a life and give a farmer a future!

Hi Graham,

Did you read the community article I posted about 2 months ago with 6 non chemical ways to control locusts? The herding channels to force large numbers of hopping stage juveniles into pits seems really promising. There are locust swarms now here in Nepal, and my colleagues and contacts in affected village areas said the control methods I outlined are working pretty well. There are pictures too. You have to scroll down in the thread to see the methods as the first entry is only a call for photographs.

I need to edit the article to add a couple more photos of the fried spiced locusts a friend prepared as a snack.

Hi all
I will like to more about the natural way of killing mosaic than using chemicals