Regular outbreaks of migrant pests annually threaten the food security of the member countries of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), such as Angola, Botswana, DRC, Lesotho, Namibia, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

It is estimated that the agricultural activities of nearly 123 million people in the SADC region (about 67% of the population), are threatened by migrant pests. These pests exhibit a high mobility and are able to freely traverse political boundaries, making active co-operation between neighbouring countries with regard to management and control, vitally important.

The main migrant pests which threaten food crops, are three species of locusts (brown locust, African migratory locust, and red locust), a moth caterpillar - the African Armyworm, and Red-Billed Quelea birds. Control of these pests before they become a serious problem is the major management strategy. Another is to establish the current distribution and pest status, especially in the case of armyworm where the sudden appearance, rapid development and disappearance of the insect calls for quick action, so that the necessary preventive action can be taken immediately. Effective cross-border communication is vital to containing outbreaks.

Project information

In 2001, the Plant Protection Research Institute of the Agricultural Research Council in South Africa, together with the Natural Resources Institute in the UK, established a network of SADC migrant pest collaborators, and developed a modern computerised system for recording and retrieving migrant pest information. Funding was provided by the Department for International Development (DFID) Crop Protection Programme (CPP), UK, and the project is a direct result of a DFID-CPP funded Migrant Pest Workshop held in Pretoria (March 1999).

ICOSAMP Homepage


Project background

Contact list



Current Bulletin and map




Control of outbreaks

Reporting Form



Workshops, Bulletins and Maps

​ICOSAMP addresses the need for a central office where all data relevant to migrant pests in the SADC region can be effectively collated and analysed. It contributes towards cross-border communication and co-operation by utilising modern technology to establish an internet-based information system that includes:

  • Information databases of regional and national Control Organisations, control operators, bibliographies, pest identification keys and migrant pest distribution data.

  • An automated input and retrieval system of migrant pest information that builds and archives spatial distribution maps (Geographical Information System), an email forum, a SADC specific gazetteer, and a bibliography.

  • Migrant Pest Bulletins and maps.

Aim of project

To minimise the impact of migrant pests on crops, and alleviate the poverty of resource-poor farmers.

These aims were achieved by:

  • Developing a "CORE" of information relating to migrant pests in the Region

  • Providing a "platform" for technical co-operation and exchange of research technology

  • Establishing a 'peer-to-peer' network of control operators in the SADC Region and,

  • Establishing a standardised migrant pest reporting system for the SADC Region.


Benefits of project

Various benefits are available to collaborating Countries viz.

  • Provision of early and timely warning of impending outbreaks

  • Prioritisation of suspect invasion areas

  • Strengthening of pest forecasting and management

  • Improved access to SADC migrant pest information

  • Assistance to Countries in the Region with safeguarding of their food security.


The immediate beneficiaries of the project are the decision makers of the SADC Food Security Unit, National Ministries of Agriculture, Regional and National Early Warning Units, and Regional Control and Research Organisations. The ultimate beneficiaries are the resource-poor farmers who are reliant on subsistence farming.


Three comprehensive outputs were developed namely:

  1. Information databases

  2. Input and retrieval system

  3. Migrant Pest Bulletins

Information Databases. Various information databases are continuously updated and archived. These include: Regional contact names and addresses; migrant pest distribution data (from 2001); bibliographies of migrant pest research; and maps.

System. A user-friendly computerised system captures, analyses, and archives monthly migrant pest data. This website provides a user-friendly and easily accessible tool for migrant pest officers in each SADC country to view information relevant to migrant pests in the Region.

Migrant Pest Bulletins.Regular monthly Migrant Pest Bulletins are produced and distributed via post, fax, email, or website.


Partners and Sponsors

ICOSAMP gratefully acknowledges support from:
Department for International Development (DFID) UK for sponsoring the project.
The Agricultural Research Council (ARC) in South Africa for hosting the project and the website.
The Natural Resources International (NRIL) UK for managing the funding.
GIMS South Africa for providing the GIS software at a reduced price for each country system.


Current activities

The 1st Phase of the project was completed in March 2003 with the establishment of the regional network and the development of the central computerised system.

The 2nd Phase, completed in 2005, included the development of "country-specific" computer systems, provision of hardware and software, and training of all country collaborators on their systems.



Central to the goal of the ICOSAMP project is the "Delivery of Information" and this is depicted by the letter "i" which is the symbol used universally for "information". The dot of the "i" is coloured red to emphasise it as the "CORE" of the information. The green wing is a stylised locust wing. The yellow wing is symbolic of both armyworm and Quelea flight movement, and 'cuts' into the letter "i" to show the relationship to the information system.                                               



Information may be used freely with acknowledgement to the source