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Pest control

Israeli locust expert flies to Sardinia to help fight outbreak

Agriculture Ministry’s Dr. Yoav Motro advises Italians on how best to deal with the insects, which have been plaguing the island for 3 years

This handout photo provided by the Agriculture Ministry on July 3, 2022, shows a member of an Israeli delegation sent to Sardinia holding a locust, as the Italian island deals with an outbreak of the insects. (Yoav Motro/Agriculture Ministry)
This handout photo provided by the Agriculture Ministry on July 3, 2022, shows a member of an Israeli delegation sent to Sardinia holding a locust, as the Italian island deals with an outbreak of the insects. (Yoav Motro/Agriculture Ministry)

The Agriculture Ministry on Sunday announced an Israeli locust expert made a snap visit to Sardinia to help address an outbreak of the insects on the Italian island.

According to a ministry statement, the delegation led by Dr. Yoav Motro was sent at the request of Sardinian President Christian Solinas. The Israelis gave the Italians recommendations on how to deal with the locust outbreak after taking stock of the problem, which the island has been dealing with for three years.

Motro described the severity of the outbreak on Sardinia as “moderate” and said his recommendations included advice on how best to use pesticides against locusts and the technology for tracking them.

“Israel and Sardinia are among the only developed countries with a locust problem,” he was quoted as saying in the statement. “The combination of technology and science advances the fight against this ancient pest.”

He also said the knowledge gleaned from battling the locusts could help developing countries, where the insects can cause food shortages.

Along with Motro, the delegation included representatives from agricultural tech (agritech) firms like precision agriculture company ALTA Innovation.

Commenting on the mission to Sardinia, Agriculture Minister Oded Forer touted Israel as a world leader in dealing with locusts and noted its role helping other countries fight outbreaks.

Illustrative: Swarms of desert locusts fly up into the air from crops in Katitika village, Kitui county, Kenya January 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

Israel has repeatedly been forced to deal with locusts over the years, including an outbreak during a two-week period in 2021 in the southern Arava desert, according to the ministry.

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