ISLAMABAD - The locust swarms have been plaguing Pakistan have found a new corridor to enter the region as they are now coming from Afghanistan — to DI Khan and Waziristan. The federal government will spend Rs 14 billion and provincial governments will contribute Rs 12 billion to counter the locust threat.

This was revealed by Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research, Syed Fakhar Imam while chairing the 5th meeting of NLCC on Saturday.

He was of the view that the locusts attack has been minimized in the majority of areas by combined efforts of the authorities. The teams on the ground were sent out at night to spray and destroy the locusts when they rested.

He also said the federal and provincial governments, district administrations and farmers were coordinating to tackle the locust swarms.

The National Locust Control Center along with National Disaster Management Authority and district administrations is taking the lead, while 8,000 army troops were also deployed for the anti-locust operations.

He revealed that China has extended financial help of $4.9 million to Pakistan by giving it 53,000 litres of spray, sprayers and drones. He added that 20 aircrafts will be used for anti-locust operations.

He also admired Ministry of Foreign Affairs for their coordination. He praised ISPR for running awareness campaigns on the threat. A presentation was also given by Ministry NFS&R regarding National Action Plan (NAP) for anti-locust operations.

Target has been set for treating crop area in first stage. Punjab will treat 5 million hectares (mn HA), Sindh will treat 1.5 mn HA, Balochistan will treat 0.5 mn HA. Similarly, KP will treat 0.5 mn HA.

As per NAP, there will be a surveillance/control team that will be headed by anetymologists. The team will also include locust assistant, representatives of local community and manpower from Pakistan Army.