KABUL: Afghan farmers have been badly hit by a staggering swarm of Moroccan locusts, continuing a cycle of destruction in northern Afghanistan, according to reports.
In northern Balkh province, many wheat farms have been plagued by the veracious pests and desperate farmers use nets to sweep up the plague.
UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization has said that this year’s locust outbreak could destroy 1.2 million tons of wheat, a quarter of the annual harvest, at a loss of up to $480 million.
This is expected to make the suffering even worse as Afghanistan is facing its third consecutive year of drought, with farmers in many parts of the country reporting no rains since March, which could have helped wash away the bugs and help their harvest.
Afghanistan’s economy, already battered by decades of war, has been mired in crisis after billions of dollars in international aid were cut following the Taliban government’s takeover in August 2021.
United Nations Development Programme says Afghanistan’s economic output has collapsed and nearly 85 percent of the country lives in poverty.