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Locusts Descend Upon Sindh’s Crops

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KARACHI: People in various districts of Sindh have reported a locust attack on agricultural crops across the province. As per the latest media reports, locusts have spread to areas including Nawabshah, Sanghar, Mirpur Khas, Jamshoro, Dadu and others.

It may result in large scale crop devastation. As soon as the locusts’ spread caught media attention, people from the area in question started tweeting videos. Videos of Locusts flying in the agricultural fields have been making rounds on social media since then.

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari in one of his tweets expressed his government’s will to control the said outbreak. Bilawal further added that despite calls for help from the federal government, they have not received a response yet.

As per media reports, the said locusts attack is set to destroy the agricultural belt of Sindh if authorities fail to act in time. However, initial reports suggest that the locusts invaded the district flying in from Balochistan.

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In conversation with Arab News, Muhammad Tariq Khan, Director of the Department of Plant Protection said

“Saudi Arabia quickly launched a control operation, but the undetected and uncontrolled gregarious locusts moved toward Iran.”

Khan further added that despite massive locust control operation in Iran, some unrestrained locusts migrated to Balochistan and gained breeding ground there.

Arab News further quoted Sindh’s agriculture minister, Muhammad Ismail Rahoo, that his relevant department discovered about the locust on June 3.

Although the minister claims that serious efforts are underway to prevent locusts from spreading, various agriculture experts expressed dissatisfaction over the government’s negligence.

Arab News quoted a cotton farmer from Sindh, Nisar Khaskheli.

“We are not big landlords, and our crop is our only source of income. The money we make from it helps pay our bills, pay for hospitals, our children’s schools, their weddings.”

“If the locusts are not controlled, they will not just damage our crops and deprive us of livelihood,” he said. “They will wipe out billions of rupees.”

According to the latest reports, the Aerial Wing of Plant protection department has initiated aerial sprays for locust control.

“Swarm of Locust has attacked Nara and Khairpur desert in Sukkur Sindh. Locust Attack was huge but no damage reported to crops so far,” says Captain Zaman Cheema, Chief Pilot, aerial wing Plant protection.

Captain Cheema further adds that the Aerial Locust control mission will proceed towards Balochistan after Sindh.

Rafique A Burior, Commissioner Sukkur, also visited Sukkur Airport for ongoing Locust Control Mission by Department of Plant Protection, Ministry of National Food Security & Research, Govt of Pakistan.

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