Plague of Locust attacks crops in KP

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Millions of locust swarm plague migrated to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa after causing serious damages to crops in Sindh, Punjab and Baluchistan. To cope with the emerging situation in parts of Khyber Pakhtunkwa, the provincial government has declared an emergency on January 30, 2020, in nine districts of the province.

Director Plant Protection KP Zia Mohiuddin stated that the provincial government was already prepared to deal with the attack of locust swarms. He said that the pests have invaded in parts of Dera Ismail  Khan, Tank and Waziristan.

“It is the first time in the history of the province that locust swarms entered the province in such a huge number. They are millions in numbers which may result in devastation for the crop.” Said Mohiuddin

He added that the department is working to control their breeding with spray in early stages so that to restrict their migration to other districts.  

Senior research Younas Tarnab said that the desert locust can fly 150 kilometres in one day, and can travel up to 3000 kilometres, its travel starts from dawn and end on dusk. He added that government focus is to control the locust swarms breeding in the very first stages. He said that the pests eat up food equal to their body weight in one day, while the devastation can be gauge from the fact that their numbers are around 800 million in one square kilometre.

Minister for Food Security and Research Khusro Bakhtyar said that to avoid any further devastation a national emergency has been declared over locust swarms in the country.  He said that the government would need 7.3 billion rupees to control the damages of locust swarms. He said that due to climate change locust migration from Pakistan delayed.

An Emergency Control Room has been set up in Dera Ismail Khan, where the entomologists of agriculture department research cell are identifying hatching location for the destruction of eggs.  

Deputy Director Plant Protection Department KP Dr Naveed Khan said that the locust swarms enter KP consist mostly of the immature adults which are not fit for breeding at this stage. He added that the strategy to spray remain very effective as they were targeted with pesticides spray at midnight when its ability to fly is zero and is lying dormant.

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