reports that locusts have attacked mountain pastures in southern Tajikistan.  The farmers fear that insects will soon descend into the valleys and destroy their crops.  The experts believe it is necessary to kill the locusts using biopesticides.

The southern province of Khatlon is reportedly is the most affected area.  The Khatlon Agriculture Department says farmers spray chemicals to kill insects where they appear.  However, it is not clear yet whether chemicals will be able to completely kill the locusts or not.

Farmers reportedly say that the authorities failed to clear pastures of these insects last year and some districts in Khatlon province were seriously affected.

Guldasta (not her real name), a farmer from the Sangtuda jamoat in the Danghara district, has told that the farm she heads suffered losses of about 20,000 somonis (about US$1,850) from locust attacks last year.

Then, the locusts completely destroyed the farm’s crops and farmers had to replant everything again.

“This year, we have already sowed our land again and I do not know what will happen next. I ask to kill these locusts so that we are no longer affected,” she says.

Saidnabi, another farmer from the Vakhsh district in Khatlon province, said that last year, a locust infestation caused him damage worth about 15,000 somonis (about US$1,400).

Another experienced farmer from the Panj district in Khatlon province, Abdurashid, told that they have been suffering from this problem for about ten years.

According to him, locusts from the mountains and hills attack people’s farms and agricultural lands in mid-May.

Farmers say that once locusts descend from the mountains onto cultivated land, they are difficult to control.  Once they grow and start to fly, it is impossible to kill them.

According to them, locusts must be killed as soon as they hatch. It is difficult to kill them when they grow up.  

The locust infestation is reportedly mainly observed in the south: in Panj, Farkhor, Vakhsh, Kushoniyon, Khuroson, Jalolidin-Balkhi, Shahritous and Danghara districts, and some parts of Levakant city.

Khatlon province is one of the largest agricultural regions in Tajikistan, which supplies most of the country with agricultural products.  However, most farmers living in mountainous regions fear that locusts could completely destroy their crops this year.

Meanwhile, according to the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), locust swarms have been recorded on an area of ​​44,000 ha of land; more than 27,000 ha have been sprayed with chemicals.  975 people, 34 tractor-sprayers, 11 vehicles and 645 hand sprayers and 143 motorized sprayers are reportedly involved in locust control measures. 

The State Entity Locust Control Expedition (SE-LCE) deals with the problems of fighting locust invasions in the country.  In Khatlon province, this responsibility is assigned to the Locust Control Department under the Khatlon Regional Administration.