‘Locust can causesubstantial damages to crops if not controlled’
PESHAWAR: Former chairman FPCCI Standing Committee on Agriculture, Ahmad Jawad has said that while battling its worst desert locust outbreak in decades, NDMA must arrange new equipments to control the swarms before summer crop-sowing gathers pace in the middle of this month.
Talking to media on Wednesday, Ahmad Jawad said that so far 238,399 square kilometres have been surveyed on locust’s damage while 4967 square kilometres have been controlled which was not sufficient.
He said, “A swarm one sq. kilometer in size contains about 40 million locusts, which eat the same amount of food in one day as about 35,000 people”.
Locust has spread across Pakistan, causing damage to crops and orchards and posing a threat to food security in an impoverished Islamic nation. He called upon the provincial governments through National Food Security Division could develop a National Action Plan for a complete year for effective surveillance and control of desert Locust in Pakistan practical basis with a mandate to safeguard national food security through efficient coordination.
Right now we have witness government intervention was not with due speed. “Every day is critical regarding locust”. If we wasted one day we faced a substantial damage in crops.”
FPCCI official also told 60% of our population is already facing food insecurity and if locust crisis is not controlled in time, the results will be devastating.
“As massive swarms of the desert locust, began damaging crops in Pakistan last month; but the situation worsened in last week. Currently more than 60 districts of the country were affected. “Maize, Mung, Mangoes, Cotton and Sugar cane crop are the most affected one from this disease.”
These insects eat anything from bark to seeds and flowers while traveling up to a speed of 93.2 miles (149 kilometers) a day. The region saw the first wave of the locust invasion in May last year since 1993.
According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Pakistan’s 38% of agriculture fields are breeding grounds for the insects.
Jawad further briefed locust invasion is a major threat than the coronavirus. The COVID-19 would not attack if you stay home or follow safety guidelines, but hunger will kill you in any way.
He lamented if Department of Plant Protection (DPP) was much capable then it would control the locust in last year at the time of producing locust eggs. But we have seen with the passage of time the capacity of DPP was deteriorated.