Eritrea covers an area of 117,760 km2 and has a coastline of over 1,000 km. It is situated in the Horn of Africa, neighbouring Sudan, Ethiopia and Djibouti and bordered to the East with the
Red Sea . The total cultivable area is estimated to be around 1.6 million ha. The total cultivated area was 503,000 ha in 2002, of which 500,000 ha arable land and 3,000 ha permanent crops. Most of the country consists of savannah, steppes and desert, particularly in the south-western lowlands and in the east near the
Red Sea. The highlands, where altitudes range between 1,500 and 2,000 m, are among the oldest areas cultivated by humans and they show signs of overuse. Administratively, Eritrea is divided into six Zobas (Provinces). Six different major agro-ecological zones can be distinguished, with crop production being concentrated on the moist highlands and the lowlands.
Eritrea is located in the Sahelian rainfall zone, with rainfall provided by the south-western monsoons. Climate ranges from hot and arid near the
Red Sea to temperate sub-humid in the eastern highlands. Average annual rainfall is about 380 mm, varying from less than 50 mm to over 1,000 mm. Over 90% of the total area receives less than 450 mm and only 1% receives more than 650 mm of annual rainfall. Rainfall in is torrential, of high intensity, short duration, and varies greatly from year to year. The rainy season for the highlands and western region extends from June to September. Due to the topographically ragged nature of the highlands, thin soil formations and a completely deforested terrain, most of the runoff turns into violent flash floods. Mean temperature varies between the agro-ecological zones, ranging from 18°C in the highlands to 35°C in the lowlands. Annual evapotranspiration rates range from 1 900 mm in the northern Red Sea coastal basin and plains, 1,700 – 2,000 mm in the northern highlands, and 8,000 mm in the Gash-Barka basin.
Eritrea harbours important Desert Locust breeding areas particularly during the winter season in the
Eastern Lowlands stretching along the
Red Sea coast to the border with Sudan in the North and during the summer season in the
Western Lowlands in the Gash-Barka basin.
During the recent years, the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Resources in underwent major structural reforms with focus on decentralizing the implementation of the agricultural policies to the regions (Zobas). Amongst other plant protection matters, Desert Locust affaires are coordinated by the Officers of the Crop Protection Unit and the Locust Information Office under the supervision of the Director of the Technical Service Division. The Locust Information Office is equipped with modern data management equipment, Reconnaissance and Management System of the Environment of Schistocerca (RAMSES). Because of only limited own resources, the Crop Protection Unit has to conduct all Desert Locust survey and control activities in close collaboration with the regional Agricultural Departments.