Another impending disaster

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Gulsher Panhwer
After the economic devastation caused by Covid-19, another disaster is imminent. According to media
reports and FAO warnings, a mammoth wave of desert locusts is about to arrive in early July. Recent
governments have responded with inaction to such matters. Locusts lay waste to crops in the wake of
uncoordinated efforts between federal and provincial governments. During the last two months, the
arrival of the locusts in parts of Sindh did not have devastating consequences, as wheat, sorghum,
cluster bean and mustard, along with other crops had been harvested. In the Dadu District, the losses
were quite catastrophic. The Agriculture Extension Department officers at the site shared that they are
disseminating information to farmers through pamphlets and have shared their contact numbers in
cases of emergency, and despite their limited human and material resources, they rush to fields to save
what they can. According to the experts, the only solution to mitigate the threat is through the
administration of aerial sprays, for which the federal government would have to provide a helicopter or
an aircraft, along with other necessary resources. If the federal government remains indifferent, the
results may be catastrophic. If the prediction of the July arrival of locusts proves to be true and
governments make no large scale preparations, then neither the federal nor the provincial government
will be able to control the locust attack and counter its devastating impact on agriculture, food security
and the overall livelihood of a majority of Pakistanis who either directly or indirectly depend on
agriculture for a living.