VN agriculture ministry gears up for possible attack of desert locusts

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) is prompting preparations for the possibility of an invasion by desert locusts in the time ahead.

The MARD said desert locusts have caused devastation in Pakistan and entered India’s northern and western areas in late May. They may continue migrating to Bangladesh, Myanmar, Laos, or Yunnan and Guangxi provinces of China, and then Vietnam.

If the locust swarms reach those regions, they will directly threaten agricultural production in Southeast Asia, including Vietnam, the ministry noted, stressing the critical importance of keeping a close watch on the formation and migration directions of locust swarms in Pakistan, Indonesia, Bangladesh, and especially Myanmar, China and Laos.

Desert locusts are likely to follow southwest and west winds to continue migrating to South Asian countries like Pakistan and India in June and July, and then to Vietnam, the ministry said.

Three warning levels will be issued and response measures taken according to locust movements: when the insects hit the south of India and Bangladesh; when they reach Myanmar, China’s Yunnan or Laos, which means they could swiftly spread to Vietnam; and when they enter the country.

 

A national steering committee for desert locust prevention and control will be set up, and so will similar agencies in the provinces bordering China and Laos, or localities hit by the insects if the second and third scenarios happen.

The agriculture sector will maximise every resource to fight against desert locusts and build plans to protect crops, assets and livelihoods in the affected areas, according to the MARD.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) estimated the desert locust population in East Africa at hundreds of millions, about 150 million individuals each swarm, that covered an area of about 2,400 sq.km. and moved among East African countries at a speed of some 13km per hour. They have destroyed crops and other food sources and seriously threatened aviation security.

If left unchecked, the plague will affect 60 countries and jeopardise food security for hundreds of millions of people, FAO said./.VNA

 
 

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