Govt in deep catnap

INSECTS and pests are devouring standing crops over the past nine months. But federal and provincial governments are persistently showing an oblivious attitude towards the colossal dam age being done to the major growth engine of the economy. The impact of losses to the GDP shall be known when Ministry of Finances releases the document of Economic Survey of Pakistan in June 2021. Insects and pest control for crops protect do not figure in the national priorities. Agriculture commodities such as rice, vegetable, fruits, livestock products and food products are major items of exports. The data released by Pakistan Bureau of Statics (PBS) on Friday reflect a drop of 4 percent in exports during the first two months of the current fiscal year, although fall in imports has contracted the current account deficit to $3.4 billion, which was 3.7 billion in the comparative period last year.
The recurring locust attacks decimated Karif and Rabi crops over vast area across the country. Now the fall army worm is damaging wide variety of standing crops and inflicting economic losses worth billions of rupees.
The indifferent attitude of federal and provincial governments has irked the experts and scientists of crops breeding and protection. While speaking at seminar at the Entomology Department of Agriculture University Faisalabad, experts urged the government to apply integrated management techniques to tackle the menace of fall army worm. Presiding over the seminar, Vice Chancellor of the University, Dr. Muhammad Ashraf said that locust infestations and excessive rains have already caused heavy losses to the agriculture sector. And the emergence of the fall army worm has posed another biggest challenge regarding the protection of crops such as wheat, the sowing of which will start next month, maize, cotton and sugarcane. It merits mention that country is currently facing wheat and sugar shortages. Vice Chancellor Agriculture University Faisalabad suggested integrated pest management control comprising chemical and biological techniques. Chairman Entomology Department, Dr. Sohail Ahmad, in his presentation, gave affected areas survey based assessment of damage done to crops and underscored the need for establishing insecticide and pesticide industry with built-in provision of research and development (R&D) to cater for crops protection. It may be recalled that the industry did exist in the country till it fell prey to the nationalization axe of the elected government in 1972.