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Agriculture ministry warns beetles threaten Gaza date harvest

Dec. 18, 2012 11:24 A.M. (Updated: Dec. 18, 2012 7:32 A.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Agriculture minister Ali al-Tarshawi on Tuesday warned that beetles are threatening the date harvest in the Gaza Strip.

The red palm weevil, a species of beetle, has been spreading in the Gaza Strip since Sept. 2011, al-Tarshawi said at a news conference in Gaza City.

Al-Tarshawi urged farmers to monitor their crops and contact the agriculture ministry if their trees are infested.

The ministry has set up an emergency committee to address the problem and raise awareness of the beetle among farmers, he said, adding that palm trees in southern Gaza were worst affected.

The minister called on international organizations and donors to help save the date industry in Gaza.
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