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Cambridge Global Food Security

An Interdisciplinary Research Centre at the University of Cambridge
Copyright: @FAO/Sven Torfinn

Forecasting risks from invasive pests like locusts affecting staple food crops in Sub-Saharan Africa

Dr Renata Retkute (Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge)


The period 2019–2021 was marked by one of the largest desert locust upsurges in two decades. As more areas will be under threat from new emerging pests due to the changing climate, there is increasing demand for approaches that combine mechanistic models and geospatial information.

In this talk, Dr Retkute will present a novel framework for modelling desert locust population dynamics and spread which uses the knowledge of pest biology, climate and remote sensing data, wind trajectories (NAME, Met Office, UK) and Locust Hub (FAO) survey data. She will demonstrate the capabilities of the framework to inform surveillance and management of desert locust with an operational focus on Sub-Saharan Africa.



Dr Renata Retkute is a Research Associate in the Plant Sciences Department, focusing on modelling spread of invasive pests (desert locust) and arboviruses (banana bunchy top virus). Her previous work was on developing statistical methods for linking geostatistical maps and transmission models for neglected tropical diseases.

Coffee Break Seminars are a relaxed online learning and discussion platform for our food security community. Talks take place every Friday during term time at 2 pm, UK time.

Zoom link to join the seminar can be found here. 

Please find more on this series here.

Image: @FAO/Sven Torfinn

Friday, 3 February, 2023 - 14:00 to 15:00
Event location: