Our agricultural sector is in grave danger. A locust infestation has wreaked havoc in rural communities and endangered the livelihood of farmers. The government does not seem to have a specific strategy to counter this threat, and as a result, the country is now struggling to deal with two crises: the coronavirus and the locus infestation. Dealing with large locust swarms is quite a challenge as it requires high-acting chemical pesticides dispensed from the air and need a substantial amount of funds to be utilized.

Agriculturists and economists have pointed out that the locust infestations can lead to a serious food shortage.

There is no doubt that the government is facing innumerable challenges with the coronavirus and now the locusts as well, but if a comprehensive strategy is formulated, the latter can be brought under control easily.

Below are some suggestions that the government could follow to combat the threat:

-The federal government should administer a joint strategy and work with the provinces to eradicate the locusts.

-There should be a clear hierarchy to be followed for effective implementation.

-The shortage of technical staff in the Department of Plant Protection (DPP) should be addressed immediately.

-Create a joint locust fund, supplied for by the federal and provincial governments.

-Foreign funding to provide guidance for the local technical staffs should be arranged.

-Consult the FAO and other such agencies to seek help in eliminating the locusts.

-Help can be sought from the Chinese.

-The government should find more resources along with new biological methods to effectively eliminate the locusts. An example of which has been witnessed with China, who have been using biopesticides with very good results.

MEHER AZEEM HAKRO,

Islamabad.