Kalat farmers give wake-up call to govt as locusts eat up fruit orchards, grasslands
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The agriculture and livestock business is on the verge of collapse in Kalat where the farmers have been facing repeated attacks of huge locust swarms containing millions of insects, reported 24NewsHD TV channel on Saturday.
The Kalat district is experiencing locust attacks for the last six months, as huge swarms earlier destroyed the natural grasslands and are now wiping out apple, cherry, apricot, peach and other crops.
In this scenario, it is feared that the local farmers and those getting land on lease for farming would face huge losses that could reach to the tunes of hundreds of millions of rupees.
In this connection, those associated with farming say that neither the government nor the agriculture department is taking serious steps to deal with the devastating situation.
This government attitude, they say, has resulted in the destruction of agricultural and animal farming which are the backbone of the local economy.
If the Balochistan government did not take swift and serious actions to eliminate locusts, the landowners and others associated with the farming sector would have to depend on charity while the economy of the province would also collapse.
Raees Manzoor Ahmed is one of the animal farmers. Manzoor says the locusts have destroyed his profession just like the agriculture as a whole, as he appealed to the high-ups, especially the chief secretary and elected representatives, to take necessary steps.
24NewsHD TV channel also talked to Haji Aziz Mughal who is a farmer and also get land on lease for agriculture. He says the locusts have badly damaged both crops and animal farming.
The government must show seriousness and use helicopters for the aerial spray to wipe out locusts and their eggs, he stressed.
Mughal was clearheaded in his views and said it was impossible to get rid of locusts with aerial spray. “If locusts are not eliminated then it may result in damaging effects on not only the growers and animal farmers but also national economy,” he added.
The story of Kalat is not limited to Kalat as 24NewsHD TV channel has earlier reported that 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.
Southern Punjab is one of the most affected regions where locust swarms are visible in Mailsi, Muzaffargarh, Lodhran and other areas, but the 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 from Hala, Bhit Shah, New Saeedabad and Matiari to Ghotki.