ISLAMABAD - Department of Plant Protection has trained 50 agriculture officers of Sindh province in order to mitigate the desert locust attacks and avoid damage threat to seasonal crops standing over millions of hectares across the province. Meanwhile, about 153,665 km2 area has been surveyed. Out of this, 50,148 km2 was in Sindh, said an official in the Ministry of National Food Security and Research. Talking to APP, he said that on the directives of Prime Minister Imran Khan, an amount of Rs 1 billion was also released to combat the locust threat.

For the purpose of survey and control, he said that agencies like National Disaster Management Au­thority and provincial agricultural departments and the Department of Plant Protection were working jointly and in strong collabora­tion with each other. Besides, he said that Pakistan Army was also strengthening the efforts of gov­ernment as military units were de­ployed on the ground for support in terms of men and material.

He clarified that locust was not re­stricted to Sindh alone, rather it has its presence and invaded other prov­inces as well. Locust was an inter­national phenomenon, threatening around 60 countries of the world, he remarked. In Pakistan, he said that swarms of desert locust are expected to migrate from Iran and other places to summer breeding regions in Sindh and Punjab. He said that despite the limited resources including aircraft availability, the maximum aerial con­trol activities were undertaken in the province of Sindh during 2019.

He said about 20,300 hectares have so far been came under the activity, and will be continued this year as well. To overcome the short­age of aircrafts, the Federal Govern­ment was in the process of hiring aircrafts for spraying, he said add­ing that more ore than 100,000 li­ters ULV pesticide has been stored in Sindh, and a greater quantity can be provided on requirement.