Saturday September 25, 2021

375,000 litres Chinese chemicals received to combat locust: minister

May 28, 2020

MULTAN: Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam Wednesday said the Chinese government has provided 375, 000 litre chemicals to combat locust.

Talking to reporters during his visit to Multan Child Protection Centre, the minister said the country is facing a major challenge of coronavirus and the locust swarms have also become a serious challenge in terms of agricultural survival in the country. The minister said the swarms of locust entered Pakistan in 2019 and the relevant ministries devised a strategy accordingly to combat the locust swarms. The minister introduced an exclusive package for the cultivators of 12.5 acres of lands while Rs 37 billion had been allocated for fertilizers subsidy. He said farmers would be facilitated in the forthcoming budget 2020-21.

The minister said the whole world is facing critical challenge of Covid-19 while the country is facing challenges of virus and locust swarms. The locust has revived after 27 years and the pest can travel 170 kilometers daily and it entered the region in March 2019, he maintained.

The minister said efforts are underway to provide relief to peasants and facilitate them at all levels. To a query about wheat procurement, the minister said the wheat procurement target has been doubled in comparison to last year when 4.2 million metric tons of wheat was procured. He said the Punjab has procured 4 million metric tons of wheat, Sindh has procured 83 per cent of wheat and Pasco procured 1.2 million metric tons wheat.

The minister said the government had fixed wheat intervention price at Rs 1,400 per 40 kilogram. The international wheat prices have been increased and the government has fixed priorities to prevent wheat smuggling. The locust swarms had started breeding in Balochistan and the pest is targeting the country's fertile lands slowly but consistently, he maintained.

The minister said China has dispatched a ten-member team of experts to combat locust and China always stands with Pakistan at all times. The action against locust is underway under the National Action Plan. Imam said the locust landed in Pakistan after travelling from East Africa to the Middle East. He said all deputy commissioners, Punjab Agriculture department, army personnel are fighting against locust.

The minister said the government is bridging a subsidy package for peasants worth Rs 50 billion. The industrial countries have come to know the value of agriculture due to the corona pandemic. The government was considering providing financial compensation to farmers faced heavy losses due to locust, he said.