The military is ready to deploy its all-terrain vehicles as part of the country’s efforts to eradicate the insect pests, which have been increasingly breeding on a vast territory from eastern Iran to its border with Iraq in the southwest.
Iran may use its military for a second year straight to battle locusts that have invaded the south of the country, ILNA quoted an Agricultural Ministry official as saying on Friday, as the pests threaten to destroy crops worth over $7 billion.
Mir noted that the desert locusts had attacked more than 200,000 hectares (494,000 acres) of orchards and farmland in seven of Iran's 31 provinces, ILNA quoted him as saying."The military have promised to help fight the desert locusts, including by providing all-terrain vehicles for use in areas which are hard to access", Mohammad Reza Mir, a spokesman for the ministry's Plant Protection Organisation said, adding that last year, the military efforts helped a lot to sort out the pest issue.
He further warned that the affected areas, stretching from eastern Iran on the border with Pakistan to the southwestern border with Iraq, were likely to soon increase to 1 million hectares, as widespread rains in southwest Asia appear to be conducive for locusts to breed at an accelerated rate. However, Mir noted counter-locust measures had so far successfully prevented "any damage".
PPO's head, Mohammad Reza Dargahi, said last month that locust swarms threatened 1,250 trillion rials ($7.4 billion) worth of agricultural products across six provinces in southern Iran, the daily Financial Tribune reported, while losses for neighbouring Pakistan are estimated to amount to $2.2 billion for winter crops.
The worst-hit area to date is the Sistan-Baluchistan Province bordering Pakistan.
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