VIENTIANE, Aug. 12 (Xinhua) -- Lao agricultural officers are focusing on controlling and preventing locust outbreaks in five northern provinces following outbreaks reported in May this year.
Officials of the Lao Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry have generally been able to control locust outbreaks and prevent them from spreading to other districts, but they are finding it difficult to manage the voracious insects in steep mountainous terrain, Vanthieng Phommasoulin, an official of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, was quoted by Lao daily Vientiane Times as saying on Saturday.
More than 1,000 hectares of farmland has been affected by locust outbreaks, with over 200 hectares of crops damaged, mainly rice and sweet corn.
The five northern provinces affected are Luang Prabang, Phongsaly, Oudomxay, Huaphan and Xieng Khuang, according to Vanthieng.
Meanwhile, an official of the Agriculture and Forestry Department in Oudomxay province said they have recorded locust outbreaks in 25 villages of Xay and La districts, but currently the outbreaks have spread into Namor district.
Officials there are now endeavouring to prevent locusts from spreading further to other locations.
The first serious outbreak in Laos was reported in 2014 in the northeastern part of the country including Phonthong and Viengkham districts of Luang Prabang province.
Outbreaks occurred in 2015 and 2016, when more districts were infected, resulting in more than 4,000 hectares of crop losses.
In May 2017, outbreaks were reported in 23 districts of five northern provinces.