Locusts on the rampage in Pakistan
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The locusts have wiped out cotton, mango, maize and other crops in several areas of Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan, as farmers are busy in moving the insects on self-help basis by beating the drums, reported 24NewsHD TV channel on Thursday.
Southern Punjab is one of the most affected regions where locusts are causing huge losses to farmers.
Locust swarms are visible in Mailsi, Muzaffargarh, Lodhran and other areas, but as agriculture department said they could not carry out spray because the houses are located nearby.
Lodhran has experienced three locust attacks during the last two months as farmers said the administration was not extending any help to them.
Same is the case in Sindh where entire crops have been destroyed by locusts. From Hala, Bhit Shah, New Saeedabad, Matiari to Ghotki, the tomato, onion, cotton, sugarcane and other crops have been destroyed everywhere.
Aghberg, 25 kms in the west of Quetta city, is under severe attack of locusts. So far crops in six villages Randozai, Babozai, Barozai, Khanezai, Mehrabzai and Khalozai have been destroyed. Crops, cumin, onions, watermelons, melons and other vegetables, fruits like grapes, apricots and apple gardens, have been severely damaged.
On Wednesday, the National Locust Control Centre said the joint teams of Ministry of Food Security, provincial agriculture departments and Pakistan Army were carrying out survey and controlled operation in different parts of the country.
It said 1,124 teams were taking part in the drive in 58 affected districts, during which survey had been completed in an area of 221,561 square kilometres with control operation conducted on 4,728 square kilometres.
Meanwhile, former president Asif Ali Zardari joined the discussion on the locust issue, as he said on Wednesday that locusts had destroyed crops but the federal government seemingly did not have any planning.
Zardari said he had been warning about the destruction caused by locusts from day one.
Earlier on Tuesday, PML-N secretary-general Ahsan Iqbal blasted the government for not doing anything to control the locust attack, saying spending Rs100 million on a timely spray at entry points [to the country] would have saved the country from Rs800 billion loss to crops.
In a tweet, Ahsan described it as another disaster on the part of the government and said crops and plants had been destroyed over hundreds of thousands of acres of land.
He also addressed a press conference and said the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation) had warned Pakistan about the locust attack and their path, but the government did not pay any attention.