PARC, UAF to collaborate to eliminate locusts

FAO warns 38% of agricultural area in Pakistan has become desert pests breeding ground


​ Our Correspondent June 09, 2020
PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

FAISALABAD: The Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC) on Monday offered support to the University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF) in the anti-locust drive and agricultural research and development for the prosperity of the country

In a meeting with Vice Chancellor Dr Muhammad Ashraf and UAF agricultural engineers and entomologists during his visit to the university, PARC Chairperson Dr Muhammad Azeem Khan said all-out efforts were being made to overcome locusts and other agricultural challenges.

Dr Azeem lauded UAF’s newly developed locust spray machine and termed it the ‘first of its kind in the country’. He expressed hope the machine would help exterminate locusts faster.

“The federal government is planning a project of Rs500 million to catch locusts alive to use them as poultry feed,” he informed the vice chancellor.

The PARC chairman further said that UAF scientists should undertake thorough research on locusts to determine their nutritive value for use as poultry feed as well as develop the feasibility report of the project.

He highlighted that the country only has 35 patents registered in the field of agriculture and there is a dire need for scientists to come up with innovative ideas and register patents.

The UAF VC said that locusts have emerged as the second largest threat for the country after Covid-19 as they were posing a serious threat to food security.

He mentioned that according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), as many as 38% of the total agricultural area in Pakistan has become the breeding ground of the desert locust.

Moreover, he explained that the lack of mechanisation by 97% of the farming community is hampering a boost in agricultural yield.

“China has developed technology for the small area farmers and they earn $8,000 per annum from six kanals of land owing to proper mechanisation,” he asserted, adding, “We should develop on that pattern to enhance our production.”

UAF Entomology Department Chairperson Dr Mansoor Sahi, Water Management Research Centre In-Charge Dr Muhammad Arshad, Dr Ameer Rasul, Dr Muhammad Sagheer and others attended the meeting.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 9th, 2020.

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