EghtesadOnline: Two more Iranian provinces, namely Sistan-Baluchestan and Khuzestan, have been swarmed by desert locusts over the past few days, according to the spokesman of Plant Protection Organization of Iran.
“So far, the pest has been battled on 13,725 hectares,” Mohammad Reza Mir was also quoted as saying by ILNA.
The provinces of Hormozgan, Fars and Bushehr have already been fighting the pest, according to Financial Tribune.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of United Nations has warned that this year, locust infestations will be more severe compared with last year.
Mir said the fight against the locust is so intense that after using pesticides, layers as thick as 10 cm to 15 cm of terminated grasshoppers remain on the land.
“The Plant Protection Organization of Iran has so far received 200 billion rials [$1.3 million] from the government to battle the locusts," he had said recently.
Yet, at least $5.45 million are needed to continue fighting the pest, he added.
The organization has put in a request with the Plan and Budget Organization for the remainder of the required funds to be allocated as soon as possible.
Based on FAO’s warnings, the organization’s officials predict that the pest will have to be fought on around 1 million hectares this year, which is expected to continue until late May.
The first generation of desert locusts attacked Iran around a year ago. FAO alerted Iran of probable locust attacks on Jan. 21, 2019, IRNA reported.
Head of PPO Mohammad Reza Daragahi had said during the previous locust attacks that the organization battled the pest across 750,000 hectares.
The migratory pest is indigenous to Saudi Arabia, Morocco and African countries, and enters Iran by crossing the Persian Gulf.
The desert locust is one of the most harmful 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.