Food insecurity across the world and in a population-heavy country like ours is always a concern. But the locust swarm that has currently infested crops in Pakistan threatens to disastrously cut the supply of food and a major export avenue in one fell swoop if we are unable to manage it properly. Tomato, wheat and cotton crops have all been adversely affected, which has added problems for our already stressed supply lines. Thankfully, the government seems aware of the threat this poses, and has issued an appeal for assistance, from both foreign states and multi-lateral bodies.

These locusts do not only present dangers for Pakistan; East Africa and India are already under fire. China is under imminent threat as well and there has been a swarm of reports of our ally lending assistance. One proposed suggestion was sending an army of ducks to fight of the locusts – which as experts on both sides have already explained is not feasible. But more realistic options exist as well, such as asking for our northern neighbours help in dispersing pesticides aerially, which is more effective than doing it by the field. Importing pesticides from China is also an option that the government can utilise if needed.

The two biggest issues that surface with a locust swarm of large numbers is that this heavy amount of pesticides lays waste to many crops as well, although it might be a fraction of what might have been eaten by the insect. But even if this current swarm is dealt with, there is a very plausible chance that we might see yet another swarm of large numbers surface once this one has bred. The government is quite right to try and get foreign assistance – this is not an issue we can manage on our own. Tens of thousands of hectares worth of crops are under threat, and hopefully, through concerted effort, our government can manage to fight off this swarm and the next one, without having to suffer any further.