Locusts invade Asir farms
The Ministry of Agriculture is fighting swarms of desert locusts preparing to descend on Asir province from Africa. Fahd Al-Farteesh, director general in the ministry, said there was no cause for alarm as the locusts were temporary migrants. “The swarms are not huge and we will be able to combat them,” he assured farmers.
The swarms which were initially concentrated in Balsamar province passed through Abha, Bani Malik and are now en route to Beesha, northeast of Asir.
Al-Farteesh said that the Asir branch is in communication with the Locusts Research Center in Jeddah which is in touch with international locusts research centers. The branch is sending daily updates on the movements of the locusts to the Jeddah center.
Swarms of locusts have attacked plants in Balsamar. Their presence in the area for the past two days has raised fears among plantation owners of damage to their crops during the ongoing harvest season.
The locust attack, the third in the Kingdom this season, is considered the most damaging to agricultural farmland as the pests consume the crops in a matter of hours.
The locusts have been invading the fields in isolated groups or swarms, prompting amateur photographers to document the event.