MIRPURKHAS: Disappointed in the federal plant protection and Sindh agriculture extension departments, farmers and landowners in Mirpurkhas have taken it upon themselves to get rid of locusts, which have been attacking their crops again and again over past few months.
They have started spraying their fields with a mixture of insecticide and diesel on experimental basis in Jhuddo taluka and other areas of the district to eliminate the insect, which had so far proved highly stubborn.
Massive swarms of locusts are currently eating away standing crops of wheat and other plants in Jhuddo, Digri, Kot Ghulam Muhammad and Sindhri talukas, causing resentment and unrest among farmers which often takes the form of angry demonstrations.
Read more: A plague of locusts
On Monday, growers held protests in Sindhri, Digri, Jhuddo and Kot Ghulam Muhammad talukas to draw government functionaries’ attention to the grave threat to their crops.
The protesters’ leaders, Ayub Khoso, Ayaz Khoso, Mumtaz Khoso and others raised slogans against the plant protection and agriculture extension departments and complained that the officers concerned did not respond to their complaints about locust attack.
They lamented that no government department was ready to take notice and carry out anti-locust spray in the district to save crops. Some farmers had prepared a concoction of anti-mosquito insecticide and diesel and sprayed it on crops to try to kill locusts on an experimental basis, they said.
They demanded the prime minister and Sindh chief minister take notice of the problem and order elimination of locusts on a war footing to save their crops.
Locusts continue to devour crops in Badin
BADIN: Huge swarms of locusts continued to play havoc with standing crops of tomatoes, wheat, onion and sunflower in several parts of Tando Bago taluka and other areas of the district.
After having eaten away the crop in the district the millions of the insects were now moving to other areas, sparking fears in farmers of the areas adjacent to locust infested fields.
On Monday, a large number of farmers staged a demonstration in Pangrio town to register protest against what they saw as indifferent and callous attitude of the functionaries concerned to their plight.
They complained that the officers had failed to make coordinated efforts to kill off the insects which had grown into millions and spread to every nook and cranny of their areas.
Affected farmers told journalists in Kaloi town that the pathetic attitude of the functionaries concerned was responsible for the failure to exterminate the locusts.
They said that they had become helpless against the deadly insects after all their traditional methods to force them to fly away proved futile.
If remedial measures were not taken by both the federal and provincial governments the insects would destroy all crops and eat away all trees and vegetation, they cautioned.
MPA Barrister Hasnain Mirza claimed that the plant protection department had sent vehicles carry out anti-locust spray in union councils of Mithi on his request.
He held the Sindh government responsible for the aggravating problem and questioned where the huge funds released recently by the provincial government for exterminating the insects had been used.
Published in Dawn, December 31st, 2019