I.R. Iran on 8-12 March 1997
- The FAO Locust Group organized and carried out a training course on Desert Locust survey and ULV control in I.R. Iran on 8-12 March 1997.
- The course was held in Chabahar of Sistan-Baluchistan Province in south-eastern I.R. Iran.
- 15 plant protection officers from several provinces throughout the country attended.
- The course programme consisted of practical exercises and demonstrations carried out in the classroom and in the field.
Chabahar, I.R. Iran
Chabahar (est. pop 50,000) is a port city on the Oman Sea in the south-eastern corner of I.R. Iran. It is nearly 2,000 km south-east of Tehran by road, or about a two and a half hour flight by air.
The coastal plains near the town are a favourite habitat of the Desert Locust. Vegetation is sparse, the soil is sandy and annual rainfall is low. Usually less than 100 mm falls in a single year, mostly during the winter and spring (November - April). When rains do occur, conditions become favourable and allow Desert Locust adults to lay eggs which hatch a few weeks later. If rains happen to be particularly good along the coastal plains which extend from Pakistan to the Strait of Hormuz, locust numbers can rapidly increase. This occurred in 1996 and, as a result, ground control operations were required in cropping areas and in wild vegetation on the Vashnam Plains, about 20 km north-east of Chabahar as well as in several other areas. These operations were undertaken to protect crops and to reduce the overall locust populations. Those adults that escaped detection and control eventually moved east toward the Indo-Pakistan summer breeding areas during June and July. However, the number of adults that arrived in these areas was low.
The Agriculture Office in Chabahar is responsible for monitoring the Desert Locust population by undertaking surveys along the coastal plains during the spring rainy season. They report to Tehran about the situation who in turn send information to FAO HQ for assessment and forecasting in order to keep affected countries and donors informed of the situation and likely developments.