The locust reached Pakistan from East Africa through the desert on the country’s southwestern border with Iran last year. Since then the farmers are struggling to combat the worst locust plague in nearly three decades.
The agriculture ministers of Pakistan, India, Iran and Afghanistan will connect via video-conferencing on March 11 to chalk out a strategy to deal with the worst locust invasion to hit the region in nearly three decades as swarms of the insects were decimating entire harvests in these countries.
Representatives of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) will also participate in the meeting via a video link from Abu Dhabi, The Express Tribune said in a report on Monday.
It is feared that recent rains in different parts of Pakistan and other countries in the region would further exacerbate the problem.
The UN has attributed the explosive growth of locust populations to heavy rains and cyclones in the Arabian Peninsula last year.
The FAO has pledged to assist the Pakistani government in overcoming the crisis. Last month, the FAO and the national food security and research ministry signed a technical cooperation project agreement to develop a roadmap for locust control in the country.
Besides, China has also been helping Pakistan.
China will dispatch the first batch of pesticides, sprayers and other supplies to Karachi on Monday to assist the Pakistani authorities in controlling the locust invasion.
The locust reached Pakistan from East Africa through the desert on the country’s southwestern border with Iran last year, The Express Tribune said in the report.
Since then the farmers are struggling to combat the worst locust plague in nearly three decades.
In Sindh, the provincial government has spent 696.19 million Pakistani rupees to control the locust but the threat was serious.
Some 168,701 acres of crop area and 997,260 acres of desert land were affected by locust in the province. The infestation has also spread to Thar and Nara deserts, where it would breed during July-December period.
The crisis is so severe that the government has declared a nationwide emergency and urgently appealed for help from the international community.