Farmers in northwestern Samangan province complain thousands of acres of wheat and barley crops have been destroyed by a type of insect.
Growers grumble the insect attacked their crops 20 days ago but the Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock Department has taken no steps to counter the assault.
Azad, a farmer from Akhta Khana village of the provincial capital, told Pajhwok Afghan News he had cultivated one ton of wheat but the bug had ruined one-third of his farms.
The insect has spoiled wheat and barley farms in the area, he said, adding the bug was locally called moar -- a small insect that attacks wheat and barley as soon as the crops start growing.
Khal Mohammad, another grower from the Sharikyar village of Aibak, said he had sown 280 kilograms of wheat seeds but the insects destroyed them all.
The pest had been damaging people’s crops over the past several years in Aibak but the agriculture department had done nothing to deal with the threat.
Gulabuddin Ghayasi, plant protections manager at the agriculture department, confirmed farms had been damaged in many areas around the Samangan capital.
The affected localities included Taikhonak, Sharikyar, Manqutan, Dokoh, Tasma, Kandai, Saydara, Surcha and Rubatak. He said the insect had destroyed more than 10,000 acres of crops.
The department requested the ministry concerned for dealing with the problem in the past, but it did not pay enough attention to the issue, Ghayasi said.
He added the ministry only telephoned them to prepare a list of pesticides and tell farmers to purchase them from the market. The department had distributed 30 liters of pesticides available to farmers, he concluded.