Israeli Locust Fighters Task Force Arrives in Ethiopia

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Addis Ababa, November 10/2020 (ENA) Israel deploys a special locust fighters task force to support the Ethiopian authorities efforts in fighting locust swarms that hit the country, the worst in 25 years.

During the past few months, Ethiopia faces an overwhelming invasion of desert locust swarms that damage crops and pasture fields in many regions.

Following the request by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, Israel’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gabi Ashkenazi instructed to deploy an ad-hoc task force of locust fighters and experts to Ethiopia in order to join forces with their Ethiopian counterparts and control the spread of the swarms in the country.

Embassy of Israel in Addis Ababa is leading the operation, in coordination with the Ethiopian concerned bodies, the embassy said in a press release.  

Israel’s top locust expert, Yoav Mortro heads the task force, which includes three additional members who specialize in different fields of expertise.

The task force is planned to operate in Ethiopia for two weeks, during which it will demonstrate and train more than 200 Ethiopian locust fighters, governmental agencies and international organizations representatives, the embassy noted.

The task force brings more than 2 tons of equipment and advanced appliances that will be handed over to the Ethiopian authorities with the conclusion of the operation, it added.  

According to the embassy, Israel is thrilled to share is experience and knowhow with Ethiopia.  

This operation symbolizes the strong and long-lasting relations between Israel and Ethiopia, which are demonstrated during normal and challenging times, it added.

Members of the task force are expected to meet Ethiopian officials from the ministry of Agriculture on Wednesday.

Desert locust is one of the most destructive pests, as it is highly mobile and feed on large quantities of any kind of green vegetation, including crops, pasture, and fodder.

In most cases, the common response to locust swarms invasion is aerial spraying of crops using pesticides.

Israeli researchers developed a unique and innovative method, based on the accumulated experience with these phenomena in Israel.

This cutting-edge method is based on daytime surveillance by drones and data analysis of the swarm’s movement, followed by night spraying while the pests are static.