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Fresh swarms of locusts descend in Cholistan, pose threat to cotton crop

FORT ABBAS: The swarms of locusts have descended in Cholistan particularly in various parts of Marot area in Fort Abbas, ARY News reported on Tuesday.

Fresh swarms of locusts, a specie of grasshoppers, pose serious threat to cotton crop in Cholistan as earlier measures taken to control the infestation failed to bear any fruit.

After fresh arrival of locusts, the personnel of Livestock Department of Punjab and local administration officials reached in the area where locusts were reported to be sighted.

A spray campaign has been underway in the area to eliminate swarms of locusts, official sources said.

In June this year, swarms of locusts attacked cotton fields in Khairpur, Sukkur, and Ghotki. Farmers had to bear losses of hundreds of thousands of rupees due to crop loss in the attack, according to reports. The crops were affected in Khairpur’s Naaro, Chondko, Thari Meerwah, Sukkur’s Saleh Pat, Thikrato, Mubarakpur and Ghotki’s Khanpur Mahar, and Khangarh.

The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in first week of September warned that the situation relating to locusts in Pakistan was “most serious” as a second generation of the insect had been bred.

According to the FAO’s Locust Watch report, there remains a risk of further breeding, causing locust numbers to increase, with the possibility of swarm formation from late September onward.

Yemen and India are also facing a similar situation, and the situation could deteriorate in Ethiopia and Eritrea.

During August, adults continued to lay eggs primarily in Cholistan, and to a lesser extent, in Nara and Tharparkar deserts where groups of hoppers had formed near the Indian border, report said.

From mid-August onw­ards, hatching caused locust numbers to increase. Adults were also laying eggs and hoppers were forming groups in the Lasbela area west of Karachi. The update says that during the month of August, nearly 86,000 hectares were treated, out of which 16,455 hectares of land was treated in Pakistan.

Breeding will continue in Cholistan and Tharparkar deserts with another generation of hatching and the formation of hopper groups and perhaps a few small swarms forming by late September.

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