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    Agriculture

    Pests cause crop damage in Bamyan

    BAMYAN CITY (PAN): Farmers of Koh Mard district in the central province of Bamyan are concerned about the spread of pests that are causing damages to their crops and orchards.

    The agricultural pests have spread through their farms in the past two weeks, they said. Their harvests and orchards could be seriously affected if the pests are not controlled.

    Farmers say the leaves on their potato plants are shriveling up and causing the plants to die, while fruits are withering before they reach maturity.

    One farmer in Roy Sang village of Koh Mard district, Mohammad Nadar, said that his potatoes have been struck by a type of weevil. The pest causes leaves and fruits to turn pale or black in colour, he said.

    Another farmer in Payen Pozak village of the same district, Abdul Hafiz, said the pests attacked his orchards and damaged his apricot and pear trees.

    The potato crop is his only source of income, and his harvest has been slashed in half by the infestation.

    He said farmers in the area could not combat the infestation with pesticides because they are not available in the local markets and the government had not provided them. 

    However, the head of the agriculture department, Mohammad Tahir Ataee, said that his agency sent 200 litres of pesticides along with a team of agriculturalists to the district to prevent crop loss.

    The team would identify the pests and train the farmers in methods of pest management, he said.

    Another farmer in the district, Mohammad Talib, said the pesticides he received from the government were not sufficient for treating his crops and orchards. He has three acres of land, and said he could treat only 25 percent of his farm with the pesticides he was given.

    He said the agriculture department sent as much pesticide as it could, and if the farmers needed more they should buy it.

    In total, there are more than 8,690 hectares of land in the district, 865 hectares of which are cultivated with orchards, according to Ataee.

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