Farmers in Badghis Province face the dual challenges of drought-related losses and the invasion of locusts. This disaster deeply concerns the province’s residents, as their livelihoods heavily depend on agriculture and animal husbandry. Farmers report that the locust infestation has caused extensive damage across four districts: Jawand, Tagaab Alim, Darreh-ye Bum, and Bala Murghab. Landowners confirm that Moroccan locusts, once they attack a field, leave no crops behind, consuming all green vegetation. Individual farmers lack the necessary resources to combat the locusts and are appealing to the Ministry of Agriculture and supporting organizations for assistance in addressing this natural phenomenon.
Saifullah, a farmer from Badghis province’s Jawand district, highlights the destructive nature of locusts: “As soon as locusts reach the grass, wheat, or barley, they completely destroy the crops and vegetation. This year, the locust population has significantly increased, and the entire village of Jawand is buzzing with conversations about the locust attack. People are perplexed about how to deal with it, but the government is not paying any attention.”
According to this farmer, locusts are classified according to their type and mode of attack. He explains, “Whenever locusts land, they cause the loss of crops. They consume any wheat or barley that enters their territory, leaving nothing behind. Locusts devour any vegetation they attach to. This is one type of locust, and there are others that attack when the wheat is dry. These locusts approach the wheat clusters, consuming the kernels and causing the clusters to fall to the ground. In summary, locusts are a devastating pest that destroys everything in any region they invade.”
Abdul Basir, another farmer in the newly established Tagab Alim district in Badghis Province, laments, “All my hard work has gone to waste. This year, with great hope and abundant winter snowfall in our area, I expanded my cultivation, but this locust pest invaded our fields and destroyed everything.” Abdul Basir adds, “I anticipated a fruitful year. I cultivated 40 Manns (1 Mann = 40kgs) of wheat and 10 Manns of barley. We also had some grass for our livestock and animal husbandry. However, these locusts have infested our crops for the past two weeks, leaving us with no yield.”
The despairing farmer adds, “Farming and agriculture are my means of livelihood. I support my 11-member family through these activities. This year, the locust infestation has impacted us, and I’m unsure about what steps to take.”
While farmers in Badghis province voice their concerns about locust attacks in their fields, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has issued a statement indicating that Moroccan locusts have targeted eight provinces in Afghanistan, which are renowned as the country’s breadbasket due to extensive cultivation. The organization has cautioned about the presence of Moroccan locusts in Badghis, Takhar, Badakhshan, Sar-e Pol, Baghlan, and Samangan provinces, emphasizing that if these insect attacks are not halted, farmers will confront a significant catastrophe.
However, farmers in Badghis Province express their dissatisfaction with the lack of cooperation from the Agriculture Directorate led by the Taliban and other institutions. They report that despite extensive locust attacks occurring in four districts of the province, the Agriculture Directorate has only offered limited assistance in a few villages within two districts.
The Agriculture, Irrigation, and Livestock Directorate of the Taliban in Badghis Province has announced the initiation of a campaign to combat locusts. They have stated that the process of fighting the locust pest has commenced in collaboration with residents in the districts of Jawand and Bala Murghab. Officials from the directorate have formed three teams from the plant protection department who are actively involved in combating the pest. The teams are making efforts to control the destructive locusts and safeguard the crops of farmers from their attacks.