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Desert locusts invade more regions in Iran – Xinhua (www.xinhuanet.com)

TEHRAN, June 13 (Xinhua) — Desert locusts have inflicted the southern and eastern region of Iran, Mohammad Reza Mir, a spokesman for the Agriculture Ministry’s Plant Protection Organization said on Saturday.

“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,” Mir was quoted as saying 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.

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. This year chemical pesticides will be used on nearly one million hectares, he added.

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

Last month, the Iranian 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) of the United Nations to Iran, said in April that FAO 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 U.S. dollars under an “urgent action for capacity building” to control desert locusts infestation in Iran, Bodeker said.

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

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