DESERT LOCUST SURVEILLANCE AND CONTROL ACTIVITIES IN PAKISTAN DURING 2019

During 2019, Desert Locust spread in all frontline countries due to the favorable environment created by cyclones in the Arabian sea followed by rainfall and its undetected continuous breeding for three generations in Empty Quarter (Yemen-Saudi Arabian Border) due to the law and order situation. The immature Desert Locust swarms invaded Saudi Arabia which was migrated from the Red Sea coast of Sudan and Eritrea in January 2019. It invaded Iran in February 2019 and subsequently Pakistan in March 2019. The Department of Plant Protection (DPP), an attached department of Ministry of National Food Security and Research (MNFSR), the lead agency on Desert Locust despite meager available resources, immediately moved ground control teams and started control operation in Pasni, Gwadar, Turbat, Uthal, Kharan, and Dalbandin areas. By end of May 2019, a locust was reported in the Khairpur district of Nara Desert in Sindh province. Later on, it was reported and spread in the Rahimyar Khan and Bahawalpur area of the Cholistan Desert in Punjab. An area of 239,930 hectares was successfully controlled in Balochistan, Sindh, and Punjab during 2019.

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DESERT LOCUST SURVEILLANCE AND CONTROL ACTIVITIES IN PAKISTAN DURING 2020

The Desert Locust outbreak remained to continue in the country. A country-wide desert locust surveillance and control campaign is going on by the ground as well as an aerial team of the DPP. The detail of survey and control activities in four provinces up to 09-08-2020 is as under: -

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The current Desert Locust situation in the Cholistan desert is calm. However, mature scattered locust adults are present in Rahimyar Khan and Bahawalpur area. The locust situation in the Nara desert is normal whereas nymphs are present in various areas i.e. Islamkot, Mithi, Diplo, and Nangarparkar of the Tharparkar desert. The combat operation is in progress by the DPP teams to manage the desert locust. Fledgling has also started in the Nangarparkar area resultantly immature groups of locusts have been observed and treated there successfully.

National Action Plan for Surveillance and Control of DL in Pakistan

A comprehensive National Action Plan for Surveillance and Control of Desert Locust in Pakistan (NAP-DL-Pak) was envisaged to ensure proper comprehension of existing Desert Locust situation, coordination of stakeholders (public and private sector institutions), timely resource mobilization and efficient coordination, surveillance, control, and monitoring activities as per the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) evolved by Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to overcome the serious threats to country’s agricultural wealth from Desert Locust (DL) and safeguarding national food security. The Stage-II of NAP is in process, whereas and Stage-2 of Revised NAP will be implemented from 01-07-2020.

Formation of National Locust Control Center (NLCC)

A high-level National Locust Control Centre (NLCC) was established to review the overall Desert Locust survey and control activities in the country. NLCC is providing timely information about Desert Locust to the farmers, growers, local community, and all other stakeholders in the country. The meeting of the NLCC is held on a daily basis, wherein all the stakeholders i.e. DPP, representatives of various formations of the Pakistan Army, Agriculture Departments participate.

FAO SWAC TOC Meetings

FAO SWAC TOC meetings were imparted on weekly basis by the FAO, wherein locust experts of all SWAC member countries, FAO representatives of each SWAC member country, and representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs participated to review the Desert Locust situation. Twenty-One SWAC TOC meetings have been held so far.

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