No locusts in Jordan - agricultural ministry

Published March 7th, 2013 - 08:14 GMT
Jordan has said that no locusts have been spotted so far int he country
Jordan has said that no locusts have been spotted so far int he country

The Ministry of Agriculture [in Jordan] on Wednesday said no locust activity has been reported in any part of the Kingdom so far, reaffirming its readiness to deal with any possible locust invasion.

Agriculture Ministry Spokesperson Nimer Haddadin told The Jordan Times that the ministry's locust observation expeditions reported no sighting of locust swarms so far in all parts of the country, including the port city of Aqaba on the Red Sea.

Reports from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and Egyptian authorities, said swarms of locusts have descended on the Red Sea shores in Egypt.

The official added that some residents in Aqaba reported sighting locusts but "they proved to be the harmless dragonflies"."Jordan is so far free of locusts and there is nothing to fear," Haddadin, said, adding, "in any case, the ministry is on a locust alert".

He noted that such emergency measures are normally intensified at this time of year.

Haddadin added that the Jordan Armed Forces have put in place two light planes to spray pesticides if the locusts enter the Kingdom. “We have all the pesticides and equipment to combat a possible locust invasion,” he stressed.

According to the FAO Locust Watch, remnants of several small immature desert locust swarms that appeared in Cairo on March 2 were seen the following day near the international airport on the eastern edge of the city.

Several small immature swarms moved to the northern Sinai Peninsula where they were seen on the northern coast near Bir El Abd and El Arish two days later.

FAO also said that locust activity has been reported in Israel in the Nitzana area near Beer Milka.

Reuters reported that Israel began battling a swarm of locusts from Egypt on Wednesday to prevent crop damage in the south of the country.

The insects covered nearly 800 hectares of desert overnight, officials said and Israel sprayed pesticides from the air and land to try to kill them in the early morning before dew on their wings dried and they could take off again, according to Reuters.

"From tomorrow [Thursday] onwards, the possibility of additional locust groups and small swarms moving into Israel and Jordan will decline considerably as the winds shift and come from the north and northeast," the FAO report said.

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