Locust spreads again in Yemen [Archives:2007/1047/Local News]

May 3 2007

SANA'A, May 2nd ) The director of the National Center for the surveillance and control of locusts, Mr Abduh Fare' Al- Rumaih, stated that locusts have spread in five Yemeni governorates. He further pointed out that the Center found a large presence of locusts in the Governorates of Hadramaut and Mahrah, followed by Shabwa governorate, while they found trace for simple multiplication in the governorates of Marib and Jawf. He further elaborated that the locust breeds usually in the winter in the governorates of Haggah, Hudaydah, Lahj, Abyan, Aden, and parts of the coastal line in Shabwa.

Al- Rumaih further stressed that the monitoring teams which were formed by the Center in a number of governorates are closely watching the growth and locust breeding in a number of areas. He also noted that the locusts are actually local and not coming from the neighboring countries.

The locust swarms have spread a few weeks before in Hazr area in the deserted area of Thamood district. The invading locust was found by the eradicating team and was described to be yellow in color and in ovulation status.

Al-Rumaih said, “We expect that the locust will not move from the current area and will continue to lay eggs in the desert until they die, and therefore, the real danger lies from the next generation which we expect will start appearing in three weeks from now.”

The desert locust is concentrated in the dry desert regions of Africa and the Near East and South West Asia, comprising more than 30 nations. Dr Ali Al-Asali, a professor of Agricultural Economy, warned against eating locusts, and stressed the need for a genuine agrarian cornerstone for preventing diseases of migrant agricultural disasters before they occur.

He criticized the concerned authorities for their disability to create immediate plans to combat agricultural disasters such as locusts and stem rust fungus, which was only banned this week by the World Food Program for it seriously affects wheat.

He pointed out that the ways to combat agricultural pests in Yemen are not integrated and the prevention programs work very slowly and irregularly. Further, he called upon the agricultural aviation to be used as a means to respond urgently to the disaster by spraying agricultural land with pesticides so as to control pests that are expected to cause agricultural disasters. He warned that if an emergency plan is absent, there will be disasters as well as environmental, health, and social damage; calling on agricultural media to create awareness on this topic.

Al-Asali also stated that educating farmers to ensure that their crops are away from damage during a disaster is vital to prevent massive losses. He also called for the activation of the specialized research centers as well as the control and monitoring processes so as to avoid losses caused by pests.