Pakistan overcomes locust plague with China’s help

ISLAMABAD, May 9 (INP) – Pakistan has cleared Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh and Punjab provinces of the locust attack with the help of Iron Brother China, the National Locust Control Center (NLCC) said, according to Gwadar Pro.

NLCC said that anti-locust operation had been completed on 1,131,865 hectares of land across the affected districts and the pests had been eliminated completely from the three provinces.

China helped with anti-locust sprays, equipment and expert advice as locust attacked Pakistan, destroying crops all over the country.

NLCC said it carried out an anti-pest operation over 40 hectares of land in District Lasbella of Balochistan for the last 24 hours in order to eliminate the pests completely from the country.

The joint teams of the Ministry of National Food Security and Research, provincial agriculture departments and the Pakistan Army were conducting a comprehensive survey and control operation against the locusts in effected districts and successfully minimized its threat from 61 districts to one districts, said an official statement.

The joint teams formed to combat the desert locust attacks had also completed survey of about 209,775 hectares of affected areas.

No locusts have been reported from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh and Punjab. However locusts were present in only one district of Balochistan which is Lasbella.

Pakistan averted the worst-ever swarms of desert locusts with prompt and massive assistance from China.

Pakistan deployed drones, helicopters, hundreds of vehicles and thousands of agriculture workers since declaring an emergency in February 2020.

Locust swarms first entered Pakistan in June 2019 from neighboring Iran and quickly devastated large areas of agricultural land across southwestern districts, ravaging cotton, wheat, maize and other crops.

The damage prompted Pakistan, a country of 220 million people, to miss its production target for wheat by about 2 million tonnes, forcing the government to import grains for the first time in almost 10 years.

Low yields have pushed up the price of wheat and other food grains, pushing overall inflation to almost 10 percent in September piling political pressure on the government.

China, Pakistan’s close ally and neighbour, had donated drones, thousands of tonnes of pesticides and technical expertise to help the country tackle the crisis.

Inp/javed