Locusts Are Plaguing Pakistan’s Economy: Bloomberg

Pakistan’s economy is threatened by locust swarms.

These locusts have spread throughout Pakistan, damaging mustard, cotton, and wheat crops in Sindh and Punjab reported Bloomberg.

This outbreak can damage Pakistan’s farm production, which accounts for 20% of the economy. This is alarming as cotton is the country’s top farm export while on the other hand wheat is the main food source in Pakistan. To put things into perspective 40% of the country’s labor force makes a living through agriculture.

Pakistan Central Cotton Committee forecasts that cotton production in the current crop year will be 10.2 million bales, 20% short of the 12.7 million target.

Ahsan Mehanti, CEO of Arif Habib Commodities, told Bloomberg that lower cotton output could cut off as much as 25 basis points as Pakistan wants to increase economic growth by 3.5%-4% during the current fiscal year ending in June 2020.

Naseem Usman, chairman of Karachi Cotton Broker’s Forum stated that Pakistan is one of the top five cotton-exporting countries, however, it may have to import a huge quantity this year. “We will have to spend more than $1.7 billion to purchase 6 million cotton bales,” he added.

The locusts have already destroyed the wheat crop, which is spread across at least 10,000 acres (4,047 hectares) in Sindh and has damaged the crops of mustard too, said Zahid Bhurgri, general secretary at Sindh Chamber of Agriculture.

These locusts are damaging our crops very badly.

The authorities have already hired aircraft to spray pesticides in the worst-affected regions in at least 13 districts, including Khairpur, Tharparkar, and Sukkur.

“We are having an emergency-like situation,” said Falak Naz, director-general of crop protection at the Ministry of Food Security and Research

Last week Pakistani authorities met Indian officials at Khokhrapar-Munabao border to deal with these crop-eating pests as they are also a big threat to the crops in Rajasthan.

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