AHMEDPUR EAST-Swarms of locusts have eaten up green plants and shrubs in Cholistan region causing concern among local farmers.

Several swarms of locusts, a specie of grasshoppers, ate up plants, grass and shrubs and deprived villages of greenery in the areas adjoining Ahmedpur East after their descend in the region.

Federal Plant Protection Department has initiated aerial spray of insecticides in the region to get rid of the locusts, damaging crops and greenery for last three months.

According to officials an aircraft of the plant protection department has sprayed 200 litres of insecticides to curb the menace of damaging insects. The department has in its spray drive covered an area of 80,000 acres in the region, officials said.

The pilot of the aircraft told the media that the first phase of the anti-locust campaign has been successfully completed. The Cholistan Development Authority (CDA) has warned that more swarms of locusts could descend in the region within next two weeks to attack the crops. “Preparations are complete to curb the swarms of the insect if they will arrive here,” they added.

Several swarms of locusts recently descended in the areas in Sindh and ate up standing cotton crop, vegetables and fodder for cattle in the area.

In June this year, swarms of locusts attacked cotton fields in Khairpur, Sukkur, and Ghotki. Farmers had to bear losses of hundreds of thousands of rupees due to crop loss in the attack.

The crops were affected in Khairpur’s Naaro, Chondko, Thari Meerwah, Sukkur’s Saleh Pat, Thikrato, Mubarakpur and Ghotki’s Khanpur Mahar and Khangarh.

The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in first week of September had warned that the situation relating to locusts in Pakistan was “most serious” as a second generation of the insect had been bred.

According to the FAO’s Locust Watch report, there remains a risk of further breeding, causing locust numbers to increase, with the possibility of swarm formation from late September onward. Yemen and India are also facing a similar situation, and the situation could deteriorate in Ethiopia and Eritrea.

Breeding will continue in Cholistan and Tharparkar deserts with another generation of hatching and the formation of hopper groups and perhaps a few small swarms forming by late September, the report added.