Locust outbreak in Afghanistan

Published: Sunday 15 June 2008

India-Pakistan border at risk
Down to Earth
Swarms of locusts that were in Tajikistan in the last week of April, have moved into Afghanistan.

Authorities say the outbreak was unprecedented and are examining the extent of infestation. The plague of locusts have worsened the situation in provinces of Badghis and Herat, which are already suffering from drought.

Amid soaring food prices, local authorities have come up with an inovative idea they have promised residents 7 kilogrammes (kg) of wheat in return for killing 1 kg of locusts. Residents have killed about 300 tonnes of locusts in Badghis alone in recent weeks, said officials from the agriculture ministry.

Meanwhile, the un fao has warned that small hopper bands have formed in coastal and interior areas of southeastern Iran. Any infestations that are not controlled could form small adult groups and swarms.As vegetation dries out in the region, the adults are expected to move towards the summer breeding areas along both sides of the India-Pakistan border towards the end of May. The region will be at risk once they lay eggs with the advent of the seasonal monsoon rains by June.

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