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Locusts destroy feed crops in Bolivia

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A plague of locusts has descended upon the feed crop producing region of Bolivia, says the USDA.

The insect attack in Santa Cruz is anticipated to have destroyed around 1,500 hectares of agricultural land in the area, or about 1% of what was in production, said the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) in a Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) report published Tuesday.  

“Locust swarms of up to 10 kilometers long and traveling up to 100 kilometers per day spread quickly, destroying fields of corn, sorghum, and other crops,” said the attaché.

The region faced a severe drought in 2016, and is now troubled by the destructive insects. 

“A locust swarm can consume sufficient food to feed 2,500 people per day,” he added

The Sanga Cruz region is responsible for about 80% of the country’s agricultural production, the department reported. About 1.5m hectares of that growing regions are dedicated to the production of soybeans, corn, wheat, sunflower and sorghum.

The government of Bolivia has devoted an initial $700,000 to control this plague. So far, approximately 33,000 hectares have been fumigated.

“In early 2016, Argentina suffered the worse locust attack in sixty years, affecting 700,000 hectares,” the attaché said. “Both Argentina and FAO have announced they will send experts to assist Bolivia to mitigate the attack.”

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