Locust attack made 37% Pakistani area vulnerable says government report

60% area of Balochistan, 25% area of Sindh and 15% area of Punjab vulnerable

The Punjab government has submitted a report in the Supreme Court on the situation of locust attacks. The report was submitted in Supreme Court by Punjab government through Additional Advocate General Chaudhry Faisal Hussain.
 According to the report, the entire country is under the threat of an attack by desert locust but around 37% area of Pakistan is more vulnerable to the attack. This includes 60% area of Balochistan, 25% area of Sindh and 15% area of Punjab.
The report warned that “if the desert locust is not contained, Punjab and Sindh may become summer breeding zone of the pest.” It said desert locust appeared in Punjab’s Cholistan area in July last year. In November last year, locust swarms started migration toward Balochistan and South Punjab. So far crops over an area of 715 acres in Punjab have been damaged
According to the report, the federal government is responsible to control desert locust but the province of Punjab has managed to contain locust despite limited resources. “However, Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) provinces face immediate threat of a locust attack,” it added.
The report also highlighted vulnerability along borders with Iran and India and unavailability of correct resources like micron spray machines. According to the report, 50 micron sprayers, 5 airplanes and 50 entomologists are urgently required to support surveillance and combat operations in Punjab. It said Punjab has arranged helicopters for spraying in South Punjab region but the same method should be employed in the other provinces.
It said Punjab’s Bahawalpur district will be a major battlefield in the summer and swarms will be coming from Sindh and Indian Rajasthan due to wind storm before December. “There is an immediate need for deployment of maximum resources in summer breeding area. Punjab has 15 percent area falling mainly in Cholistan but now vulnerability has extended to the central and North Punjab due to climate change and massive egg-laying. “
The government has already declared a national emergency in this regard as hopper bands of the Schistocerca gregaria – commonly known as the desert locust – have already devoured large quantities of crops in over 60 districts of all the provinces.
These insects, mainly originating from deserts, eat anything from bark to seeds and flowers while travelling up to a speed of 149 km a day.

The region saw first wave of locust invasion in May last year since 1993. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Pakistan’s 38% of agricultural fields are breeding grounds for the insects.

Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar also took an aerial view of Rahim Yar Khan, Rojhan, Bhong, Sadiqabad, Kot Sabzal and other areas to review the damage to crops caused by locust attack.
The chief minister issued necessary directives to the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) director general (DG) to avert further damage during the helicopter surveillance of the destroyed fields.
Buzdar ordered the authorities concerned to take every possible step to counter locusts that are wreaking havoc all over the province. “Saving crops from locusts is the top priority of the government as it threatens food security of the country,” he said.

                                                 Rukhsana Manzoor deputy editor 

1 comment:

  1. We r ignoring agriculture sector and will suffer irreparable loss


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