KARACHI: CM Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah has forewarned the PM, by means of a letter, about a possible locust attack on the agricultural fields of the province.
“I may draw your kind attention to the review meeting convened by your goodself on 6th March, 2020 to review the steps taken to combat the locust attack. In the meeting it was informed that 168,701 acres of cropped area was affected, while 997,260 acres of desert area was also affected by the pest. You had kindly assured to improve coordination between the federal and provincial authorities and had instructed for provision of aircraft and pesticide for aerial spray in the affected areas.
“A massive locust attack is expected In Sindh next month. Farmlands in Sindh would once again come under attack or locust swarms from Iran by May 15, 2020, which could prove more harmful for the crops in the province as compared to the locust attack of last year.The FAO has also reportedly predicted that this year locust attack In Sindh will be severe and may continue for another two years. This situation is likely to create a disaster, leading to famine and threat to Food Security in the entire country. Due to COVI0-19 pandemic the economic activities have been affected, hence agriculture could be the main source of revival of the economy.
“Schedule-II of Rule 3(3) of the Rules of Business, 1973 (as amended) under functions of National Food Security and Research Division (Plant Protection), gives mandate 10 the Federal Plant Protection Department for aerial spray andlocust control.
“It is requested that necessary instructions may kindly be issued to concerned quarters for making immediate arrangements i.e. six (6) aircrafts for aerial spray, ULV Sprayers, pesticides including ULV, Lambda Cyhalothrine. Emulsified Concentrate (EC) in sufficient quantity; besides deployment of necessary field teams. This would help combat the situation at this level so that further spread of locust in cropping areas is avoided.”
He expressed his concerns saying that massive locust swarms could damage crops if the fields weren’t sprayed in the coming days.
It is pertinent to mention here that Sindh government had requested the Centre for assistance in this regard six months ago but no action was taken.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation the intensity of the locusts’ attack will be stronger than it was in the same month last year and thus the federal government should show seriousness over the matter.
Earlier, PPP chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari noted: “Locusts have reached the fields and we had asked the federal government to help us tackle them. But the Centre is not ready to help us with the coronavirus crisis and neither with the locusts.”
Relevant pieces published earlier:
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