By Ajmal Khan Yousafzai
ISLAMABAD: The Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam Friday said that efforts against desert locust would be continued and strategies to be evolved for averting any pest threats in future.
Addressing the National Locust Control Center (NLCC), he said that coordinated efforts of all concerned ministries, departments at federal and provincial level, the desert locust had been restricted from 61 districts to only one district. The minister appreciated the role of locust warriors, who play a critical role in campaign against locust and eliminated its threat and save the local agriculture sector from the harmful impact of the pest.
The minister said that pest threat from the Horn of Africa was reduced due to rains and vegetation that had converted the swarms to Kenya and adjoining areas. He said that some swarms of locust from Iran had already reached Pakistan and some to India, adding that swarms that had reached Pakistan and effected different areas had been eliminated. He said that locust was completed eliminated from the provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Sindh, however, it was presented in only one district Lasbella of Balochistan , adding that efforts afoot to eradicate it.
The minister said that he had also visited Tharparker in order to observe on ground activities against locust, adding that field staff of the Department of Plant Protection and provincial extension department had played key role to avert the threats. He also highlighted the role of Food and Agriculture Organization and lauded its technical support in war against desert locust and making the campaign more effective and successful.
The minister said that locust reemergence was still existing in Tharparker and Lasbella districts, adding that joint teams were working and conducting survey for carrying out operations if required to keep the situation under control. The unprecedented rains that have been observed after 100 year had effected the standing crops in Punjab and Sindh, adding that it had effected cotton crop badly and destroyed about 500-600 bales in Sindh.