AFGHANISTAN / MOROCCAN LOCUST OUTBREAK

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Afghanistan's northern provinces, the breadbasket of the country, are facing severe Moroccan Locust infestation for the second consecutive year, posing a significant threat to the country's wheat production, vegetation, and food security. FAO
Description

STORY: AFGHANISTAN / MOROCCAN LOCUST OUTBREAK
TRT: 2:31
SOURCE: FAO
RESTRICTIONS: PLEASE CREDIT FAO ON SCREEN
LANGUAGE: PASHTO / ENGLISH / NATS
DATELINE: 24 APRIL 2024, KUNDUZ, AFGHANISTAN / 22 MAY 2024, TAKHAR, AFGHANISTAN

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Shotlist

24 APRIL 2024, KUNDUZ, AFGHANISTAN

22 MAY 2024, TAKHAR, AFGHANISTAN

1. Pan right, locust infested field
2. Tracking shot, locust in the field

24 APRIL 2024, KUNDUZ, AFGHANISTAN

3. Various shots, locusts on the ground
4. SOUNDBITE (Pashto) Mohammad Ibrahim, farmer affected by locust outbreak:
“This is devastating. First, they eat the pasture, and then they eat our wheat. Once they finish with those, they move on to devouring our vegetables and trees.”
5. Close up, locusts on plants
6. Close up, locusts on a palm of a hand
7. SOUNDBITE (Pashto) Mohammad Ibrahim, farmer affected by locust outbreak:
“I cultivated 140 kg of wheat and 126 kg of barley on 20 Jerib of land (4 ha). Out of the 20 jeribs, 11 jeribs were infested by locusts, leaving only 9 jeribs unaffected. If the locusts devour my crops, I am unsure how I will be able to provide food for my family this year.
8. Wide shot, Trenchard standing in the field with farmers
9. Med shot, Trenchard standing in the field with farmers
10. Close up, Trenchard walking over locusts
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Richard Trenchard, Representative in Afghanistan, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO):
“This just two or three days ago, was wheat field with wheat growing well. Now, the locusts, even the juvenile, first, second instar locusts, just hoppers, not even full-grown adult locust, they've just come through here. They've just taken everything. Nothing left. This is a family's food, a family's income for the next few months, and it's just gone”.
12. Wide shot, technicians spraying crops
13. Pan right, technician spraying crops
14. SOUNDBITE (English) Richard Trenchard, Representative in Afghanistan, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO):
“The Moroccan Locust I s one of the world's greatest threats to plants. And here we can see thousands and thousands just born just one or two weeks old. Already they can cover 500, 600 meters in a day. This is rain fed wheat here. Totally destroyed. Just thousands and thousands. And this is why it's so important that the Ministry of Agriculture here, in particular PPQD, which is the Plant Protection Quarantine Directorate, is launching an enormous campaign here to rid the north of Afghanistan, Afghanistan's breadbasket, to rid the north of this incredible threat”.
15. Various shots, locusts
16. Pan right, technician walking over a field

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Storyline

Afghanistan's northern provinces, the breadbasket of the country, are facing severe Moroccan Locust infestation for the second consecutive year, posing a significant threat to the country's wheat production, vegetation and food security.

The outbreak is the result of a combination of factors such as drought conditions, coupled with overgrazing and patchy vegetation, and the absence of monitoring and spraying over the last years.

To help the Afghan farmers save their harvest and fight the locust outbreak, the government of India donated 40 thousand liters of locust-killing insecticides in January 2024. So far, the authorities have sprayed more than 17 000 hectares of land infested by locusts.

In a country where over a third of the population (14.2 million people) experience high levels of acute food insecurity and where 80 percent of the population rely on agriculture, locusts pose a significant threat to wheat production, livestock pastures and, ultimately, food availability.

SOUNDBITE (Pashto) Mohammad Ibrahim, farmer affected by locust outbreak:
“This is devastating. First, they eat the pasture, and then they eat our wheat. Once they finish with those, they move on to devouring our vegetables and trees.”

Mohammad Ibrahim, a small-scale farmer from Kunduz province, Afghanistan's Northeast, saw more than half of his crops eaten by the voracious pest.

His village heavily relies on agriculture, particularly wheat, legumes, and oily crops, for sustenance and income.

SOUNDBITE (Pashto) Mohammad Ibrahim, farmer affected by locust outbreak:
“I cultivated 140 kg of wheat and 126 kg of barley on 20 Jerib of land (4 ha). Out of the 20 jeribs, 11 jeribs were infested by locusts, leaving only 9 jeribs unaffected. If the locusts devour my crops, I am unsure how I will be able to provide food for my family this year.”

The Afghan Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock considers eleven provinces at risk in northern Afghanistan. The five of the provinces that constitute Afghanistan's breadbasket - Takhar, Kunduz, Baghlan, Samangan and Balkh, are at the epicenter of locust infestation.

A recent field monitoring mission conducted by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), led by its country representative in Afghanistan Richard Trenchard, confirmed that the locust outbreak this year may be as worrying as that of 2023.

SOUNDBITE (English) Richard Trenchard, Representative in Afghanistan, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO):
“This just two or three days ago, was wheat field with wheat growing well. Now, the locusts, even the juvenile, first, second instar locusts, just hoppers, not even full-grown adult locust, they've just come through here. They've just taken everything. Nothing left. This is a family's food, a family's income for the next few months, and it's just gone”.

FAO intervened by training 65 Ministry staff to in Balkh and Herat provinces to conduct surveys. This has allowed to identify 1 142 sites were infested with locust egg pods, covering a total area of 3 864 hectares. If left untreated the locusts could rapidly spread to other areas.

The Organization is also cooperating with the Japanese International Cooperation Agency's multiyear locust control program in Central Asia that includes the five Central Asian countries and Afghanistan.

SOUNDBITE (English) Richard Trenchard, Representative in Afghanistan, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO):
“The Moroccan Locust is one of the world's greatest threats to plants. And here we can see thousands and thousands just born just one or two weeks old. Already they can cover 500, 600 meters in a day. This is rain fed wheat here. Totally destroyed. Just thousands and thousands. And this is why it's so important that the Ministry of Agriculture here, in particular PPQD, which is the Plant Protection Quarantine Directorate, is launching an enormous campaign here to rid the north of Afghanistan, Afghanistan's breadbasket, to rid the north of this incredible threat”.

As part of its Locust Programme in Caucasus and Central Asia, FAO is organizing biopesticide demonstrations in several countries, including in Afghanistan, on 20 hectares, during the 2024 locust campaign. The successful results obtained advocate for their use in combatting locusts without harming other animals, humans, or the environment.

The last two big outbreaks in Afghanistan, 20 and 40 years ago, caused an estimated loss of 8 and 25 percent respectively of the total annual wheat production.

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Production Date
Creator
FAO
Alternate Title
unifeed240613i
Subject Topical
Geographic Subject
MAMS Id
3220254
Parent Id
3220254