Killer Moths Attack Orchards in Kyrgyz South

Ulukbu Amirova reports from Batken in southern Kyrgyzstan where the blackened remains of fruit trees bear witness to a plague of gypsy moths – and lost livelihoods.

Killer Moths Attack Orchards in Kyrgyz South

Ulukbu Amirova reports from Batken in southern Kyrgyzstan where the blackened remains of fruit trees bear witness to a plague of gypsy moths – and lost livelihoods.

Tuesday, 23 June, 2009
The moths have proliferated this year because the winter was unusually warm, and the fruit-tree orchards that are a major source of income for farmers here are being stripped of their leaves by the larvae.



“In our village, you can only make a living by having an orchard,” said local farmer Kalyk. “The constant damp means we don’t get a good harvest, apart from apricots. Thanks to these insects, this year we haven’t even been able to pick the apricots. Look, they’ve damaged half my orchard.”



Abdybitali Yusupov, who heads a regional plant protection agency, blames local councils for failing to respond to his organisation’s requests for a mass extermination campaign.



Other experts say that gypsy moth infestations are easy to deal with as long as pest control agencies work in an effective and coordinated manner.



“These trees are fit only for firewood,” said Kalyk sadly. “Next spring we’ll plant saplings, but they will take five or six years to produce fruit.”

Kyrgyzstan
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