ISLAMABAD           -       Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam on Friday lauded the coordinated efforts made by the joint teams formed to combat desert locust threats across the country

Chairing a meeting of National Locust Control Center (NLCC), he said joint teams were working coherently and conducted survey and carried out anti locust operations. NLCC Coordinator Lieutenant General Moazzam Ejaz, co-chaired the NLCC meeting, which was apprised that up to now 53,184,900 hectares area have been surveyed and infestation control operation is completed in 1,121,953 hectares.

The meeting was informed that in South-West Asia, good progress is being made against the first generation of hopper groups and bands that have formed mainly in Rajasthan (India) and to a lesser degree in Tharparkar district in southern Sindh.

It was informed that more than 1,072 teams with 765 vehicles comprising on 5,847 people took part in the anti-locust campaign and mitigated the pest threats. Senior Locust Forecasting Officer of Food and Agriculture Organization Keith Cressman briefed the meeting about issues, challenges their connection with climate change.

He mentioned that number of new technologies have emerged with potential applications to locust early warning and plague prevention.

The FAO has made a considerable effort to develop and test those technologies that showed the most promising results with the affected countries.

He said the integration and sustaining of these new technologies in national locust programme represents a greater challenge than their initial identification and development.

He said all these technologies have contributed to better early warning and reaction by affected countries and FAO eLocust3, drones and satellite-based estimates and GIS have the greatest impact on monitoring locust populations in Africa and Asia.

He also discussed locust control campaign of Pakistan and added that Pakistan is the only country that has fleet of aircrafts for anti locust operation.

Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) mentioned that monsoon currents are penetrating in upper and lower parts of the country and likely to strengthen in lower parts. The westerly wave is also affecting upper parts of the country.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province mentioned that after July 2, no locust was reported in the province.