ISLAMABAD Huge dates growing areas of Kharan, Panjgoor and Turbut in Baluchistan are under pests attack. Aerial sprays must be carried out after consultation with the provincial government. Federal Minister for Food & Agriculture, Mir Israr Ullah Zehri has said that the Aerial Wing of the Plant Protection Department (PPD) is significantly important for fighting against any deadly attack on crops and must be upgraded and strengthened to serve the purpose. The minister stated this after he was briefed about the functions and working of PPD, here at the ministry premises. This service shall be extended to any area /province on demand and as per requirements. He stressed the repair of the out of order planes so that aerial sprays must be carried on maximum areas. The minister further added that vigilant and dedicated staff must be placed at bordering areas to ensure that the quarantine related protocols in the exportable commodities as per the requirements of the target country are duly fulfilled. Stations at Kashmir must be established to make sure that the traded produces are free of all types of pests. The minister said that it is good that Pakistani rice is now also exported to Mexico. He said that requirements of the Japanese government must be fulfilled so that our mangoes get access to that market from the coming season. The minister was briefed that PPD fights locust and other pests in collaboration with FAO and locust affected countries. Elimination of locust is done both through ground and aerial sprays. The department coordinates with Asian and Middle Eastern countries and the district and provincial governments to protect crops from seasonal attacks of locust and other pests. The department enforces the Plant Quarantine Act 1976 and Agricultural Pesticide Ordinance 1971. PPD successfully fought 145 locust swarms and 22 Hopper Bands and protected a desert area of 14479 hectares in Ghotki etc last year in September.