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allAfrica

By Zerihun Getachew
Prosopis juliflora, an invasive weed, is posing a threat in Afar regional state by invading most of the grazing lands, the region’s agriculture bureau said.

Prosopis juliflora is an invasive weed grows to a height of up to 12 meters and has a trunk with a diameter of up to 1.2 meters.

The weed has invaded almost all of the grazing land in the region, Ibrahim Mohamed deputy head of the bureau said.

The weed is also expanding to the neighboring states, Amhara, Oromia and Tigray, he added.

The weed invaded 1.7 million hectares land in Afar, he said quoting a study conducted by the Ministry of Agriculture and FAO.

Activities are being underway to eradicate the weed.

Crushing the fruit of the weed and bulldozing the plant are the activities being carried out, he added.

The federal government said it is working to destroy the weed in collaboration with stakeholders.

Efforts are being exerted to crush the fruit of the tree and provide for cattle as a fodder, Agriculture State Minister Dr. Gebre-Egizabher Gebre-Yohannes said.

A strategy is being prepared to destroy and control expansion of the weed, he added.

It will be effective after a month.

Prosopis juliflora is a shrub or small tree looking like a mesquite.

It is native to Mexico, the Caribbean. The weed has become established as an invasive weed in Africa, Asia, Australia and elsewhere.

A mature plant can produce hundreds of thousands of seeds, which remain viable for up to 10 years.

Seeds are spread by cattle and other animals that consume the seed pods and spread the seeds in their droppings.

It is estimated that the tree is was introduced to the region in the late 1970s and early 1980s, its aggressive growth leads to a monoculture, denying native plants water and sunlight, and not providing food for native animals and cattle.

Source: ENA

 

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