Avoiding a modern-day plague

When Christians in Mali hear about the plague of locusts in the book of Exodus, they know exactly what kind of havoc the insects can wreak. In their homeland billions of locusts often swarm an area and wipe out the food crops of entire communities.

The Mopti region of Mali experienced especially heavy rains last year—and with increased rains come more destructive locust swarms.

“When local [Mopti region] farmers discovered the large quantity of locust eggs, they immediately understood the gravity of the situation,” says Lynda Dykstra, a field worker in Mali for the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee.  

The farmers unsuccessfully tried traditional means to prevent the coming swarms: the removal of eggs and the practice of animist rituals. During the last week of August, they turned for help to a CRWRC partner, Agence Evangélique de Développement du Mali (AEDM).

With Dykstra as program consultant, CRWRC International Disaster Response and AEDM worked with state agricultural agents to implement a spraying project that destroyed eggs before they could hatch. AEDM transported sprayers and spray to farms where brigades of villagers worked alongside state agents.

“This is a really good example of what can be done when a local partner organization has good relationships with state agricultural agents, a high level of trust with communities, a strong desire to be a witness to Christ’s love, and open lines of communication with CRWRC,” Dykstra concludes.

The total cost of the project came to $3,857.50 in U.S. dollars. Had the eggs hatched, CRWRC personnel estimate they would have spent $200,000 to $300,000 to provide food aid to Mali.

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