Occupied Abkhazia Locals Collect up to 3 Tons of Asian Bugs

Locals from Georgia’s Russian-Occupied region of Abkhazia have collected up to three tons of dangerous agriculture pest, the Asian Stink Bug (Brown Marmorated Bugs) which destroyed nearly the whole hazelnut harvest in Georgia and occupied Abkhazia last year.

Locals from the occupied region started gathering the pest after the Russian side stated last year that they would pay Abkhazians 1000 Russian Rubles ($15.5) per kilogram of Asian stink bugs.

De facto Prime Minister of the region Valery Bganba stated that apart from using pesticides, the method of collecting the pest by hand is safer and helps to save money.

“Unfortunately, in recent years, we have not been able to boast a healthy phytosanitary situation in the country. The plants are attacked by many kinds of pest, including the Asian bugs,” he said, adding that if the works are not intensified, the situation will become hopeless.

Russia helps breakaway Abkhazia in order to prevent the spread of the pest on their territory. Last year Russia prohibited the import of certain products due to the "critical phytosanitary situation" in occupied Abkhazia, which was later removed after the situation got better.

The so-called Abkhazian minister of agriculture, Amiran Kakalia, noted that the Russian Federation provided 4,800 liters of pest control products, adding more aid is expected in May.

“More than 10,000 pheromone traps and additional knapsack sprayers will be sent to us,” he added.

Asian stink bugs also created many problems in Georgia. The pest destroyed more than half of the nut and hazelnut harvest in the western regions in the last two years.

De facto Abkhazia leaders, along with Russia, accuse Georgia of artificially creating the pest and spreading it to the breakaway region.

Brown Marmorated bugs were first reported in Russian-backed breakaway Abkhazia in 2016, which inflicted significant damage to the nut harvest, the only income of the local population. 

By Thea Morrison




25 April 2019 11:23