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Breakaway Abkhazia Locals Collect 3 Tons of Asian Stink Bugs

By Tea Mariamidze
Friday, April 20
The locals of Georgia’s breakaway region of Abkhazia have collected up to three tons of Asian Stink Bugs, a dangerous agricultural pest which devastated nearly the whole nut harvest in the breakaway region last year.

According to previously released information, Russia pays Abkhazians 1000 Russian Rubles ($17.5, Gel 42.44) per kilogram of Asian stink bugs.

Russia’s offer is one of the methods to combat the invasive pest, which started to multiply very fast this spring.

Russian side declared that brown marmorated stink bugs must be eliminated in de facto Abkhazia in a year, otherwise Russia will not allow Abkhazians to import their production to their territory.

Arkady Jinjolia, head of inspection of plant quarantine of breakaway Abkhazia, told Sputnik media that in total, up to three tons of the pest has been collected by locals.

He said the population is actively involved in this process, especially in occupied Gali, Tkvarcheli, Ochamchire and Gulripshi districts.

“In two months, about two tons of Asian bugs were collected. Russia paid people to collect them. Today, the mechanical work is still underway and at the last stage 600-700 kilograms of pest have been gathered. The Abkhazian government will pay the population for this,” Jinjolia said, adding for the next stage chemicals will be used to eliminate the bug.

In mid-March Russia’s Rosselkhoznadzor, Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance, imposed a ban on import of vegetables and fruit from occupied Abkhazia.

The Russian side made the decision in order to prevent the spread of the pest onto the Russian territory from occupied Abkhazia, however, after the locals started collection of the bugs, the ban was removed on April 10.

Brown Marmorated Bugs, which multiply very rapidly and destroy nearly all fruit and vegetables, were first reported in Georgia and its breakaway Abkhazia in 2016.

De facto Abkhazian authorities claim that the pest spread to their territory from Georgia, while Russia’s Rosselkhoznadzor has alleged that the Asian Stink Bugs were artificially created in Georgia and spread to Abkhazia.