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Swarms of locusts descend in Cholistan, eat up standing crops

SADIQABAD: Swarms of locusts coming from India in Cholistan have played havoc with standing crops in the region, ARY News reported on Saturday.

The swarms of locusts have damaged cotton crop in several villages of Sadiqabad adjoining to Cholistan.

Several swarms of locusts, a specie of grasshoppers, eat up plants, grass and shrubs and deprived villages from greenery in the area after their descend in the region.

Local farmers were trying to push them out of the area on self help basis with traditional means including beating metal cans.

Assistant Commissioner Sadiqabad has said that the government has launched a spray campaign to address the menace.

Local villagers, however, opined that a spray machine could not eradicate hundreds of thousands crop eating insects from the area. They haved demanded immediate aerial spray in the region to get rid of the swarms of locusts damaging crops and greenery.

Several swarms of locusts recently descended in the areas in Sindh and eat up standing cotton crop, vegetables and fodder for cattle.

In June this year, swarms of locusts attacked cotton fields in Khairpur, Sukkur, and Ghotki districts. Farmers had to bear losses of hundreds of thousands of rupees due to crop loss in the attack.

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 had 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, the report said.

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, the report added.

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