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Locust attack spreads to 25 districts

Lahore

June 3, 2020

LAHORE:The locust attack has spread to 25 districts out of total 36 districts of Punjab. This has emerged in a briefing to the media about the current situation of locusts. Punjab Minister for Agriculture Malik Noman Ahmad has confirmed that farmers in 25 districts are facing difficulties due to locusts and all government agencies concerned, including Punjab Agriculture Department, are taking corrective steps from the very beginning. The CM has declared state-of-emergency for the eradication of locusts and has released a hefty amount of Rs 1 billion.

For effective monitoring of locusts, the CM dedicated his official helicopter for surveillance of locust. Under Punjab Locust Control Plan, PDMA has set up control rooms in all affected districts. Punjab Agriculture Department and other agencies concerned including, Punjab Disaster Management Authority, Federal Plant Protection Department and Pakistan Army teams visited 25 locust-affected districts (Bhakkar, Bahawalpur, Bahawalnagar, Khushab, Rajanpur, DG Khan, Layyah, Jhang, Mianwali, Okara, Sahiwal, Pakpattan, Rahim Yar Khan, Kasur, Multan, Lodhran, Vehari, Locusts in Toba Tek Singh, Attock, Faisalabad, Muzaffargarh, Chakwal, Jhelum, Sargodha and Chiniot, the minister said.

The operation for the control of locusts is under way and so far the surveillance work of 14.7 million acres has been completed. Teams of 3,000 people from Punjab Agriculture Department and other agencies are working day and night for the control of locusts. Around 75,000 litres of pesticides have been sprayed on more than 756,000 acres of land through equipment and machinery, minister added. For effective control of locusts, ground spraying is also being done with the help of airplanes and helicopters. At present, locusts are migrating. The process is underway. The locust is still on its way to Cholistan where special teams from the Agriculture Department and other concerned agencies are present and are taking effective steps to address it, the minister said.

Noman Ahmad claimed that due to farmer friendly policies of the government and the hard work of the farmers, the production of crops for Rabi 2019-20 has increased. This year, Punjab has produced 19.4 million tons of wheat, which is 1,023,000 tons more than last year.

Similarly, Punjab has produced 430,000 tons of gram, which is 53,000 tons more than last year. It was cultivated on an area of1, 10,000 acres which has yielded 76,000 tons which is double that of last year, he said.

He said for the first time in the history of Punjab, the government has procured more than 4 million tons of wheat from farmers.

The Punjab government has allocated Rs 256 billion for this purpose. Various projects worth Rs. 300 billion are being implemented under Prime Minister's Agricultural Emergency Program for agricultural development and prosperity of farmers. In addition, an economic package of Rs 56.6 billion has recently been approved by the Economic Co-ordination Committee, the minister said.