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Iran's army to help battle locust swarms in south


TEHRAN, May 17 (Xinhua) -- The Iranian Agriculture Ministry said that the army will help fight locust invasion in the south of the country, Tehran Times daily reported on Sunday.

Mohammad Reza Mir, a spokesman for the ministry's Plant Protection Organization, said "the army has promised to help fight the desert locusts by providing all-terrain vehicles for use in areas which are hard to access."

"Last year, the army provided personnel and vehicles, and that was a big help," Mir was quoted as saying.

The desert locusts have attacked more than 200,000 hectares of orchards and farmland in seven provinces in the southern part of the country, he said.

The affected areas, stretching from eastern Iran on the border with Pakistan to the southwestern border with Iraq, were likely to soon increase to 1 million hectares, he added.

Gerold Bodeker, the representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations to Iran, said last month that FAO had boosted its emergency technical cooperation project to help Iran battle swarms of desert locusts.

FAO would grant Iran with a total of 500,000 U.S. dollars under an "urgent action for capacity building" to control desert locusts infestation in Iran, Bodeker said.

On March 10, Iran announced that huge swarms of desert locusts arrived in the southern region of Iran. Enditem


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