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Swarms of locusts in Sa'ada and Al-Jawf.

SANA'A, June 20 -- Swarms of red desert grasshopper locusts have descended on Sa'ada and Al-Jawf governorates, threatening this year's harvests, the Ministry of Agriculture announced.

Dr. Mohammed Al-Ghashm, deputy of Agricultural Services at the Ministry of Agriculture, said the grasshoppers were seen in the Ktaf district of Sa'ada; a small swarm was also seen in the Alyotma district of Al-Jawf.

Locusts can consume 100,000 tons of crops a day--enough food to feed half a million people for an entire year. They munch on leaves, flowers, fruits, seeds and sprouts. Their combined weight is sometimes too much to bear for trees, leaving them with broken branches and worse.

Abdulghani Al-Sharjabi, the director of the Pest Control Department at the Ministry of Agriculture, said that teams are in place monitoring the locusts in Hadramout, Shabwa and Marib governorates.

The red locusts become yellow when they mature. Their movement is less predictable while they are young, making them difficult to monitor.

High humidity and thick vegetation in those areas leave the governorates vulnerable to grasshopper locusts, Al-Sharjabi said. Monitoring is the most important phase for pest control, he added.

In 2007, the Ministry of Agriculture eliminated similar locust populations in Thamood, Hozr, Manokh, Sayoun and Shabwa.

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Publication:Yemen Times (Sana'a, Yemen)
Geographic Code:7SAUD
Date:Jun 20, 2013
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