Warm weather favours locusts

Published: Saturday 31 May 2008

Tajikistan is battling a locust invasion, which the government says, has come a month earlier than usual.

The infestation was first reported in southern districts of Tajikistan on March 18. Experts at the Tajik Research Institute of Protection and Quarantine of Plants, Dushanbe, blame the early outbreak on an unusually warm spring. The un office for the coordination of humanitarian affairs links the infestation to a combination of favourable weather condition and incomplete spraying of pesticides last year that led to a larger than normal amount of locust eggs developing into adults. The un body says over 150,000 hectares of land could be hit by locusts this yearan increase of 30 per cent from 2007.

In the last week of April, as the insects in the south were developing wings, the government appealed for international help to contain the outbreak.

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