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Pakistan locust situation worsening as swarms entering via Afghanistan

IANS/Islamabad
Filed on June 12, 2020
Pakistan, locust, Afghanistan

(Reuters)

New swarms of des­ert locusts would enter Baloc­histan from Iran over the next two weeks, minister said.

The desert locust situation in Pakistan was fast deteriorating and swarms have found a new corridor from Afghan­istan to attack agricultural fields in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, it was reported on Friday.

Crop losses have been reported in several areas of Khyber Pakht­unk­h­wa, particularly in Dera Ismail Khan district, from where these loc­ust swarms were entering Punjab thereby posing a serious threat to the food basket of the country, said the Dawn news report.

Winding up the debate on locu­sts in the National Assembly on Thursday, Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhr Imam said the government was keeping a vigil on the movement of swarms of desert locusts entering Pakistan from four countries: Ethiopia, Somalia, Eritrea and Djibouti via Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Iran.

He said that new swarms of des­ert locusts would enter Baloc­histan from Iran over the next two weeks, adding that the province was already the worst-hit with its 33 districts already invaded by insects.

In Balochistan, he said, ground operation against locusts had been carried out over 85,000 hectares by ground teams and aerial sprays had been carried out over 500 hectares.

The Minister added that the federal government was in close coordination with the Food and Agri­­c­ulture Organisation (FAO) which was keeping Pakistan informed on a daily basis on the movement of locust swarms in the region.


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