KARACHI: Iranian Ambassador to Pakistan Seyed Mohammad Ali Hosseini has called for enhancing regional cooperation especially cooperation between Pakistan and Iran to tackle a massive food security challenge for the region posed by possibly the worst locust attack in 50 years.
“This year southern Iran was invaded in winter by infestations along the India-Pakistan border. The unusually warm and wet weather allowed an extra generation of breeding, meaning that the desert locust infestations would be much larger than normal and pose a major risk to the region.
“It is predicted that Pakistan and Iran will face the worst desert locust outbreak in the last 50 years. [These swarms] and can destroy all crops on their way. [They] can wreak havoc in many provinces in both countries,” Hosseini said in an article titled “The challenge to food security: a new agenda for regional cooperation.”
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He said emergence of new challenges like virus originated global pandemics, climate change, pollution and infest of locusts require timely and collective response.
The envoy said the best way of preventing such horrible attack that can damage thousands of hectares of agricultural lands is early warning, spreading pesticides and countering them before breeding.
“Iran and Pakistan will enhance cooperation with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and benefit from its experiences. In the fight against the desert locusts, the Plant Protection Organization (PPO) of Iran has been reporting the situation to FAO on a regular basis.
“Iran and Pakistan should enhance the bilateral cooperation to tackle the situation. Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Iran and Pakistan are cooperating closely to enhance the connection between the related focal points,” he added.
Hosseini said Iran and Pakistan have proved during the history that they can overcome their common difficulties with joint efforts. Crippling sanctions against Iran have drastically reduced resources that were supposed to be allocated to desert locust problem, he said.
“If Iran won’t be able to control the pests, Pakistan will also be damaged. So, the subject of sanctions and its consequences is not just for Iran and needs raising our voice against the sanctions,” he added.