Pakistan to establish national cell against rising locust threat: minister
The Pakistani government has decided to form the National Locust Control Cell against the rising attacks of the locust swarms across the country, which are posing a serious threat to the national food security, the information minister said Thursday, Trend reports citing Xinhua.
Pakistan's Information Minister Shibli Faraz told media that the government has formed national strategy against the desert locust and the proposed cell is part of it.
The minister added that the government is well aware of the current situation being faced by farmers in different regions where the desert locust swarms are attacking different crops.
"We fear that there would be a great threat of locust swarms in July this year. The government is preparing for it," said the minister, adding that nine jets and helicopters are taking part in spraying missions against the locust, which would be increased to 15 in July.
The minister advised farmers to report about the arrival of locusts quickly to the helplines so that the authorities can spray pesticides in their region.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations released a report last month and warned the Pakistani government of a huge level of locust raid in Pakistan if it is not controlled efficiently because locust breeding is taking place at 38 percent of the country's total area. The report added that the locust could cause 817 billion rupees (about 5.08 billion U.S. dollars) loss to Pakistan's agriculture production this year.