The locust population has seen a consistent increase in 71 villages in Phongsaly, Huaphan, Luang Prabang, Oudomxay and Xiengkhouang provinces.
Currently, over 300 hectares in 65 villages of the five provinces have been sprayed with liquid insecticide to get rid of the locusts, Director of the Plant Protection Centre Siriphonh Phitaksoun said on May 19.
Some areas could not be sprayed due to being located near livestock breeding areas and water resources for daily consumption and use, said Mr Siriphonh.
The relevant sectors have also exerted control and preventive measures against the invading locusts and limit their migration, habitat and infested areas.
So far, local authorities have been trained how to cope with the increasing locust population by using proper insecticide spray techniques and equipment.
In the recent years, the Chinese government and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations have donated insecticide spray equipment to Laos in response to the efforts to keep the locust population down in the northern provinces of Laos.
Actually, the spraying operation is very difficult because of poor access to the infested areas due to rough terrain. Moreover, we face a lack of financial support, vehicles and equipment to control locusts, Mr Siriphonh added.
Since early March, locusts started invading and damaging cash crop areas of over 140 ha including bamboo forests, rice and maize farms in Xon, Heim, Huameung, Xamneua, Viengxay, Sobbao and Xiengkor districts in Huaphan province, said Director of Agriculture Sector of Huaphan Province Syviengsub Phengphomma.
Over 1,000 ha of local farmlands in Kham, Phoukood and Nong Hed districts of Xiengkhouang province have reportedly been destroyed by locust invasions, said Director of Agriculture Sector of Xiengkhouang Province Buapha Bounkhampon.
Since 2015, locusts have destroyed over hundred hectares of bamboo, cash crops, upland rice fields and maize farms in five northern provinces.
Over 9,000 ha of farmlands in 400 villages in the five provinces have been hard hit by locust infestations and floods last year. As a result, 4,128 ha of farmlands were badly damaged, including over 1,700 ha in Huaphanh, over 1,700 ha in Luang Prabang and more than 440 ha in Phongsaly.
Source: Lao News Agency