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    Pests attack Khak-i-Jabar orchards

    KABUL (PAN): Agricultural pests have destroyed thousands of fruits trees in the Khak-i-Jabar district of central Kabul province, with residents fearing the disease -- if not tackled soon -- could damage more orchards.  

    Most residents of the district, located 40 kilometres east of Kabul, are reliant on agriculture and livestock for survival.  Local council head, Shah Rasoul, told Pajhwok Afghan News nearly 1,000 trees of apricots, apples and almonds were damaged by pests in different areas of the district.

    Some apricot trees had gone completely dry, he said, explaining a kind of insect and ant attacked leaves of fruit trees, especially apricot. Leaves of apple trees change to grey colour before shrinking and drying.  

    Rasoul asked the government to help residents eradicate the pests; otherwise it would damage many other fruit trees. "People here survive on agriculture and gardening. If their orchards are hit by disease, residents will face more problems.''

    Mohammad Younus, a resident of Malang village, said: "A small insect and ant attacked the saplings. They produce wax and the leaves turn yellow. I have 10 acres of a garden where 60 fruit trees have been affected by the disease.''

    District Agriculture Officer Hayatullah confirmed many fruit trees had been damaged by the disease. “I closely monitored the trees yesterday and transferred the symptoms to the agriculture department for examination.''  

    mm/vp/mud