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June 27, 2019

Scare as locust swarm heading towards Matiari, Hyderabad


June 27, 2019

SUKKUR: After damaging standing crops of cotton, paddy and millet (Jawar) in the desert areas of the Sanghar and Umerkot, the locust swarms are heading from the right bank of Indus in district Dadu towards Matiari and Hyderabad, said Noorullah Dasti, incharge Plant Protection Department.

The locust attack initially began from Khairpur and quickly spread to Dadu, Matiari, Jamshoro, Nawabshah, Naushehro Feroze and Sanghar districts, sparking fears of large-scale crop devastation.

The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation in its “Locust Watch” of June 20 had said, the “adult groups will move from Balochistan to the summer breeding areas along the Indo-Pakistan border where more hatching and the formation of hopper groups will occur.”

Locusts are short horned grass hoppers. The farmers are extremely concerned and distraught over damage to crops worth millions of rupees and are complaining over lack of effective spray to destroy breedings sites of locusts months ago in Balochistan which have now spawned and the swarms are damaging crops .Demanding declaration of national emergency, they have called for handing over insecticide spray to the army to efficiently manage the impending disaster. The nervous farmers apprehend that unless an effective insecticide spray is conducted ahead of the impending monsoon season, the locust would breed and cause more damage. Sirai Nisar, President Sindh Chamber of Agriculture said he witnessed the locust attack during a visit to Serai jo Makam, Taluka Mirwah and Nara Road. He said according to locals, the locust swarms have reached Taluka Kot Diji desert areas near Pakhor and Mir Sahab jo Numberi Talab and heading towards Mehrano and Uban Shah.

The deputy commissioner Benazirabad demanded urgent insecticide spray in the three districts of Sanghar, Nawabshah and Naushehro Feroze districts. Similarly, the deputy commissioner Jamshoro has also sought insecticide spray in the affected areas on an emergency basis.

The DC Sukkur, Rafiq Ahmed Buriro said so far spray has been carried out over 3000 acres and more is underway in the remaining 1,500 acres of the affected area. Meanwhile, Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Sahibzada Mohammad Mahboob Sultan reached Nara Tehsil of Khairpur and visited the affected areas. He was briefed by Dr. Falak Naz Khan DG, and Director Technical Muhammad Tariq of the Department of Plant Protection and briefed him about the locust attack. The federal minister said 800 hectare areas of Nara Tehsil is under attack. He claimed that most of the crops have been saved and efforts are underway to stop the movement of the locust swarms to the fertile areas.

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