Locusts no more

Locusts descended on crops in Balochistan whereas formerly they usually settled in desert areas

October 10, 2020

Swarms of locusts started to storm various regions of the country in the closing months of last year, threatening to munch us into famine and hunger. Thankfully, now the locust attack has come to an end. Pakistan has set an example in controlling locusts in a short time. Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam has announced the happy news that the country has successfully controlled locusts, appreciating the dedicated work of all the relevant quarters — the National Locust Control Centre, provincial governments, NDMA, and the villagers of the affected areas. He specifically thanked the Food and Agriculture Organisation saying it played a significant role in controlling the locust menace.

Some 63 districts in the country — 10 each in Punjab, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh and nearly all districts in Balochistan — faced the locust attack; and for the first time in 80 years, locust swarms entered the country from Afghanistan through the former FATA region and DI Khan, which was something very unusual. Unlike in the past, locusts descended on crops in Balochistan whereas formerly they usually settled in desert areas. People from all spheres of life contributed to the efforts to control locusts; and it was this broad cooperation from all segments of society that made it possible to control locusts before they could do much harm to crops. Unfortunately, it has been estimated that Sindh province would likely lose around 30% or I.4 million bales of cotton due to the effects of climate change. The cotton crop has been badly affected in other regions of the country too, but Sindh has suffered a devastating crop loss that had not been witnessed in the last 100 years.

One is reminded of a politician’s suggestion about locusts: “One way to control locusts is to eat them.” Some politicians offer non-serious solutions of serious problems.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 11th, 2020.

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