A massive swarm of locusts has recently invaded parts of Sindh, posing a threat to the country’s prized cotton crops.
Millions of insects, if not taken care of timely, may destroy Pakistan’s most abundant crop – causing a heavy blow to its already struggling economy.
The swarm entered Pakistan from Iran, says the Ministry of National Food Security and Research, adding that they have deployed aircraft and spray-mounted vehicles to protect about 10,000 acres of crops.
Hashim Popalzai, a federal secretary at the ministry, has confirmed that the insects have not hit the crops so far.
“The insects have not hit our crops so far, fortunately,” he told Aljazeera.com on the phone.
Pakistan’s fragile economy is mainly dependent on cotton crops. Also, the country’s textile industry not only holds a massive share in job provision but also provides the largest foreign exchange.
Experts believe that some businesses in the Arabian Peninsula, that breed crickets for bird feed, might be the source of this storm.
Previously, these swarms hit parts of Sudan in January, Saudi Arabia, and Iran in February and Pakistan’s Balochistan province in March, which bears relatively small cotton crops.
Falak Naz, the director general at the ministry, said their bigger concern is for Sindh and Punjab provinces as they are country’s top cotton growing regions.
She added that currently, the millions of insects were feeding on wild bushes in Nara desert, some 20 KMs from the cotton crop in Sindh.