MULTAN: Locusts attacked and severely damaged cotton, mango and other crops in various cities of Sindh and southern Punjab on Monday, giving rise to fears of more damage in the days to come if appropriate steps are not taken to protect crops from the insects.
The locust attack took place in different areas of Multan, Rajanpur, district Muzaffargarh and Kandhkot. Mango, cotton crops and rice saplings were severely damaged by the attack.
In Multan, locusts attacked trees located in parks and at sidewalks at the Qasim Bela, Cantt, Pull Bararan, Old Shujabad road, Chowk Shah Abbas and Vehari Road areas.
In Rajanpur, mango, cotton and other crops were damaged by the locust attack. In Muzaffargarh, locusts attacked crops and mango orchards in Doaaba, Lutkaran, Chak Rohari, Chak Mathan, Lalpur, Sanki and surrounding areas.
With no help from the government, locals in Muzaffargarh attempted to ward off the locusts by beating drums in an attempt to scare them away. To effectively eliminate locusts, farmers have called on the government to spray crops from airplanes instead of spraying only certain areas.
In Kandhkot, locusts destroyed rice saplings, grass and trees. Locals in the city demanded the government conduct aerial spray to ensure the protection of food crops.
Earlier, a report had said that officials were concerned about farmlands in Sindh once again coming under a massive attack of locust swarms from Iran by May 15 which could prove even more harmful for the crops in the province as compared to the locust attack of the last year.
The information was shared by officials of the Plant Protection Department (PPD), who attended a high-level meeting at the Sindh Secretariat last month on the expected locust attack in the province.
The PPD officials had told Chief Secretary Syed Mumtaz Ali Shah that up to 60 countries around the world have been affected by locust swarms.
Members of the meeting were informed that 30 spots have been identified in Sindh where camps would be established for tackling the issue of the impending locust attack. Fifty-seven teams comprising 180 personnel were being created to address the emergency.
It was decided in the meeting that 100,000 litres of pesticide would be sprayed through aerial means while 25,000 litres of pesticide would be used against locust swarms via the boom spray method.