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    Kunduz farmers concerned at grasshopper threat

    KUNDUZ CITY (PAN): Farmers in northern Kunduz province are concerned about a looming grasshopper attack on their crops, accusing the authorities concerned of failing to ward off such threats.

    "Grasshoppers' population is fast growing in the Abadan desert and Airgank mountain with the advent of summer; they are ready to attack our fields," said Nasratullah, a farmer in Nawabad area of Chardara district.

    The farmer told Pajhwok Afghan News he had grown his tenacres of land with wheat and melons and if the threat was not prevented until May, villagers would have their crops destroyed.

    Nasratullahurged agriculture department officials to take urgent measures for combating the grasshoppers' influx before it was too late.

    "Every year, we request officials to take steps against grasshoppers' spread before they can fly, but the agriculture department pays no attention to our calls," he complained.

    Ahmadullah, another farmer, farmlands would be destroyed once again like in past years if timely action was not taken. He said his fields were located close to the Dasht-i-Archi, a breeding ground for grasshoppers.

    He urged the agriculture department to provide them with insecticides and equipment to deal with the situation.

    Agriculture Director Azizullah Aimaq confirmed the problem, saying thousands of hectares of agricultural land were under threat. He said they had seen high numbers of grasshoppers in parts in Imam Sahib, Dasht-i-Archi, Qala Zal, Chardara and Aliabad districts.

    Efforts were underway to deal with the increasing number of grasshoppers, with nearly a hundred agriculture officers spraying fields in the areas.

    mrh/ma/mud