Muscat: The Ministry of Agriculture has asked citizens to check locusts for the presence of pesticide before catching and eating them.
The ministry's alert came after the spread of pictures of citizens preparing locust grills and other meals made from locusts.
The presence of locusts in the Sultanate is a normal occurrence as Oman is a rest stop for desert locusts on their journey from Africa to East Asia according to Eng. Nassir Al Shamsi, Director of Agricultural Quarantine Department in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.
"The Ministry is monitoring the spread of desert locusts in the Sultanate and will combat it in the event of large scale proliferation affecting residents and farms," he said.
Commenting on the condition this year, Al Shamsi said, "If locusts find the right environment they lay their eggs and multiply, this is what has happened in the Sultanate this year because of the rains that have occurred during the past weeks."
"So far, the pesticide has been sprayed in wilayat Quriyat only with the cooperation of farmers there and citizens must ensure that locusts that they catch are not affected by pesticide," Al Shamsi said.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries said in a statement online, "The Ministry is closely following the desert locust situation in various governorates of the Sultanate. Several foci have been identified for desert locusts in some wilayats of the Sultanate which emerged as a result of improved environmental conditions following rainfall."
"After the discovery of these foci, immediately specialists in the Ministry took appropriate control measures, intensifying the survey and exploration to monitor any other gatherings early on and taking appropriate measures to eliminate them," the ministry statement read.