Iran facing worst locust outbreak in 40 years

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A severe locust outbreak, possibly the worst in the past 40 years, is threatening crops and food security in large areas of the coastal province of Hormozgan, Iran.

Several swarms of locust spread out to parts of Iran over the last 10 weeks and penetrated 200 km (124 miles) into the farmlands of the province and some reports indicate that there are now 12 000 ha (29 652 acres) of infested farmland, Tasnim reports. A very small swarm eats as much in one day as about 35 000 people, posing a devastating threat to crops and food security.

The director of the department of agricultural organization in Hormozgan said that Iran is facing the worst locust outbreak in the past 40 years.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said in February that a locust outbreak in Sudan and Eritrea was spreading rapidly along both sides of the Red Sea to Saudi Arabia and Egypt. It also noted that good rains have allowed generations of locust breeding since October 2018, leading to a substantial increase in locust populations and the formation of highly mobile swarms.

The head of the Iranian Plant Protection (IPPO) said that the agricultural head Jihad Minister had approached the problem to the interior ministry to call the governors of the neighboring provinces to exclusively implement crisis in those areas to fight the invasive locusts.

Locust outbreak in 1961 damaged nearly 2.5 million hectares (61.7 million acres) of agricultural lands across Iran.

Featured image credit: Iran Press News Agency

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