Risk of locust migration subsides

Updated 29 Aug 2020

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“Good progress is being made against the first generation of hopper groups and bands that have formed mainly in Rajasthan of India and to a lesser degree in Tharparkar district in Sindh,” the FAO said. — Photo courtesy Manoj Genani/File
“Good progress is being made against the first generation of hopper groups and bands that have formed mainly in Rajasthan of India and to a lesser degree in Tharparkar district in Sindh,” the FAO said. — Photo courtesy Manoj Genani/File

ISLAMABAD: The Food and Agriculture Organi­sation (FAO) of the United Nations says that the risk of swarm migration to the India-Pakistan summer breeding area has nearly subsided.

“Good progress is being made against the first generation of hopper groups and bands that have formed mainly in Rajasthan of India and to a lesser degree in Tharparkar district in Sindh,” the FAO says in its latest update on the desert locust situation.

This is the result of more than 1,000 teams, 750 vehicles and nearly 6,000 staff involved in the ground control operation in Pakistan, according to the update.

Chairing a weekly meeting of the National Locust Control Centre on Friday, Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhr Imam said the NLCC teams were working in a coordinated way for the eradication of desert locust in Pakistan.

So far, 53,184,900 hectares of land have been surveyed and 1,121,953 hectares treated.

The FAO’s senior locust forecasting officer, Keith Cressman, briefed the meeting on locust-based range of issues, including the genesis of the problem, the damage that can be caused and the climate change connection.

He pointed out that a number of new technologies had emerged with potential applications to locust early warning and plague prevention.

Mr Cressman said the FAO had made a considerable effort to develop and test those technologies that showed the most promise with the affected countries.

The integration and sustaining of these new technologies in national locust programmes represented a greater challenge than their initial identification and development, he said.

Published in Dawn, August 29th, 2020