Iran fiercely fighting locust, urges more action from Saudi Arabia

Press TV – Iranian authorities say Saudi Arabia should do more to help fight a locust plague that could threat crops and food security in the Middle East and North Africa region.

Head of Iran’s Plant Protection Organization said on Sunday that Red Sea countries could help Iran and others better prepare for fighting a locust this year that could affect thousands of hectares of more agricultural lands in those countries.

Mohammad Reza Dargahi said that the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) should warn countries that are member to the Commission for controlling the Desert Locust in the central region (CRC) that they should do more to fight the plague.

Dagahi said countries around the Red Sea, especially Saudi Arabia, were expected to regularly update their information on online FAO maps to help other countries better fight locusts.

He said Iran is currently fighting the plague in around 45,000 hectares of land in six provinces across the south of the country.

Swarms of locusts arrived in areas in southern Iran from the Empty Quarter region of Saudi Arabia, near the Yemen-Oman border, after heavy rains in 2018 that triggered breeding of locust in the region.

Iran’s caretaker agriculture minister Abbas Keshavarz said earlier this week that the country had been successful in its fight against locust last year, adding that not a single hectare of land had been damaged from a total of 700,000 that could have been affected by the plague.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday that his government would ensure that enough funds would be available for fighting locusts in Fars province, a major agriculture hub south of Iran.

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