EghtesadOnline: The Plant Protection Organization has received 200 billion rials ($1.3 million) from the government to battle desert locusts that have swarmed southern Iran, while at least $5.45 million more are needed to fight the pest, the spokesman of the organization affiliated with Agriculture Ministry said.
“The amount we have received is enough to launch measures, but Plant Protection Organization has put in a request with the Plan and Budget Organization for the allocation of more funds as soon as possible,” Mohammad Reza Mir was also quoted as saying by IRNA.
Ali Bab-Ali, director of the Pest Combat Planning Bureau with the Plant Protection Organization, says the drive against desert locusts started last week and will continue until late May, according to Financial Tribune.
“Up until now, the pest has been battled over 9,000 hectares of land,” he told Mizan Online.
Groups of desert locust have been spotted in the southern provinces of Bushehr, Hormozgan and Fars by PPO’s watch teams.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has warned that this year, locust infestations will be more severe compared with the similar period of last year.
Based on FAO’s warnings, PPO officials predict that the pest will have to be fought on around 1 million hectares of land this time.
Desert locusts had attacked Iran around a year ago. FAO alerted Iran of probable locust attacks on Jan. 21, 2019, IRNA reported.
Mohammad Reza Dargahi, the head of PPO, said the previous locust attack launched by PPO was across 750,000 hectares.
Desert locusts are among the most dangerous pests. They can destroy all greenery, including grains, fodder, vegetables, tree barks and even weeds, on their path.
The pest has attacked Iran’s farms in the fiscal 1963-64 and 1993-94. The former caused heavy damage to the country’s farms and agricultural production.
Desert locusts are indigenous to Saudi Arabia, Morocco and African countries, and enter Iran by crossing the Persian Gulf.