18 May 2022

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The locust threat

 

Pakistan has declared a national emergency to deal with the swarms of desert locusts which has reached the province of Punjab after devouring crops in Sindh.

Pakistan has been afflicted with the worst locust infestation in more than two decades.

The desert locusts arrived in Pakistan from Iran in June and have already ravaged cotton, wheat, maize, and other crops.

Favorable weather conditions and a delayed government response have helped the locusts breed and attack crop areas.

Pakistan is already suffering from food security and food inflation and the locust attack is bound to aggravate the situation. The swarms of locust have the potential for large-scale destruction of crops.

According to media reports the locust swarms were currently on the Pakistan-India border around Cholistan and were previously in Sindh and Balochistan.

The locust menace can be controlled only when countries cooperate and decimate the insects when they are breeding and on the ground. Once into the adult migratory stage they lay eggs and multiply their population multi-folds.

The government has pledged to tackle the issue to help farmers escape this catastrophe. Spraying insecticide can have a negative impact on the food chain and harm the insect and bird population.

We need to ensure that the eco-system is not disturbed and harmful insecticide does not pollute the food chain.