International

Desert locusts infest more regions in Iran

Tehran, Jun 14 (IANS) | Publish Date: 6/14/2020 9:21:31 AM IST

Desert locusts have infested the southern and eastern regions of Iran, a spokesman for the Agriculture Ministry’s Plant Protection Organization said.

“Khorasan Razavi (in the east) has recently joined the provinces invaded by the pest, so the battle is currently taking place in eight Iranian provinces now,” Mohammad Reza Mir was quoted as saying on Saturday by Eghtesadonline news website.

“Sistan-Baluchestan, Hormozgan, Bushehr, Kerman, South Khorasan, Fars and Khuzestan provinces have already been infected,” Mir said, adding that desert locusts have been fought in the areas with over 378,494 hectares in the country so far, reports Xinhua news agency.

Sistan-Baluchestan, in the southeast, is the worst-hit province where the pest has been confronted on more than 170,640 hectares, he noted.

The official added that no damage has been caused to orchards and farms in the infested provinces so far.

Plans are underway to use drones to battle the pest in mountainous and inaccessible areas such as swamps, said Mir, adding that this year chemical pesticides will be used on nearly one million hectares.

Mir noted that locust invasions will become more intense in Iran in late July.

Last month, the Agriculture Ministry said that the army would help fight locust invasion in the south of the country.

Gerold Bodeker, the representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to Iran, said in April that it had boosted its emergency technical cooperation project to help Iran battle swarms of desert locusts.

FAO would grant Iran with a total of $500,000 under an “urgent action for capacity building” to control the infestation, Bodeker said.

On March 10, Iran announced that huge swarms of desert locusts arrived in the country’s southern region.

 

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