KARACHI: Locust attack may cause a loss of $8.71 billion to Pakistan’s economy during the summer if 75 per cent of the standing crops are destroyed, senior agriculture scientist Dr Chauhdry Inayatullah warned on Sunday.
Speaking during an online lecture on locust attack and issues of food security, he said that this year, the locust attack is severe and coordinated efforts of the federal and provincial governments department are required to eliminate the swarms of locusts which are now in billions.
He said that it is estimated that if 25 per cent crops are damaged during the current season then Pakistan would face a loss of $2.9 billion and if 50 per cent crops are eaten up by the insects then the loss would be around $5.8 billion.
Dr Inayatullah said that Pakistan used to regularly monitor locusts and spray breeding sites to prevent an attack but the opportunity was missed last year, because of which the country is facing the worst attack of desert locusts, which are present in all provinces.
He said that controlling desert locusts when they are in swarms and warning other countries early is the key to success. He added that spraying vast areas is not an ecologically sound practice as it kills beneficial insects as well but it is the only way out of this. He further said that the use of semiochemicals is ideal during the solitary and transitory phase of locusts.