ISLAMABAD: Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhr Imam has warned that locusts can migrate from Rajasthan to Cholistan and Tharparkar though presence of locusts in Pakistan is currently restricted only to Lasbela.

Chairing a weekly meeting of the National Locust Control Centre on Friday, Mr Fakhr Imam asked Balochistan to focus on Lasbela and Uthal for a survey and control operation.

The Sindh government informed the meeting that it was still continuing the survey, while Punjab mentioned that it had completed the control operation in Bahawalnagar and Bahawalpur.

A representative of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government stated that it was still carrying out intensive survey.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations, in its desert locust situation update released on Friday, says the situation has improved dramatically as a result of intensive survey and control operations in India and Pakistan. Nevertheless, limited breeding continues in southeast Sindh and Lasbela west of Karachi.

The locust situation has improved in Southwest Asia but remains serious in Yemen and parts of East Africa. There is concern that the situation could deteriorate along the both sides of the Red Sea.

NLCC Coordinator Lt Gen Moazzam Ejaz, who co-chaired the weekly meeting, said that till now 55,831,700 hectares had been surve­yed and 1,127,000 hectares had been treated. Lasbela was the only district of the country where locust existed on a limited scale, he said.

In East Africa, aerial control operations continue against low numbers of immature swa­rms that persist in northwest Kenya and northeast Somalia. Breeding is under way in north and northeast Ethiopia where control teams are treating numerous hopper bands and gro­ups that continue to form. The situation is exp­ected to prevail during the remainder of September.

Published in Dawn, September 12th, 2020