Locusts Swarm Northern Laos Wreaking Havoc on Crops
The Northern provinces of Huaphan, LuangPrabang, Oudomxay, Phongsaly and Xieng Khuang have been invaded by locusts, reaching plague proportions despite attempts to control the insects with chemical sprayings.
After receiving more insecticide, spraying machines and other equipment from China, Lao and Chinese agriculture officials have teamed up to brainstorm ways on how to effectively combat the swarms that have been wreaking havoc on local crops.
Director General of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry’s Agriculture Department, Mr Vilaysouk Khennavong and a representative from the Chinese Embassy to Laos, Mr Wang Qihui, signed an agreement for the provision of the supplies on Thursday.
Despite the government of China equipping the Agriculture Department with 21 vehicles, 1,100 machines,1,000 protective suits and other various equipment this year alone, it has proven to be ineffective against the mass of locusts dominating the area.
With additional equipment expected to be delivered to the suffering provinces soon, officials will be better armed to fend off the invading swarms.
During the previous locust invasion at the end 2016, authorities reported that the locusts had laid eggs in 640 places on an area of more than 9,000 hectares. The area included 376 villages in 24 districts of the five provinces.
Last month the eggs hatched in 81 locations in 38 villages in 12 districts of Huaphan, LuangPrabang, Oudomxay and XiengKhuang provinces.
Officials from the agriculture and forestry offices have been working tirelessly with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, local authorities and villagers, in attempt to control the locusts population by destroying the eggs, spraying pesticides, and being extremely vigilant of outbreaks.
A surveillance team from the Agriculture Department predicts there will be locust outbreaks in many districts and more provinces, and has observed an increase of 20-30 percent in locust infestations this year, as compared to previous years.
A surveillance team from China has forecasted that if control measures are successful, the outbreak will stabilize in the next two or three years.