The recent rain with a surge of locust swarms in Dalbandin the headquarters of district Chagai. The locust invasion is the worst in the area after so many years.
There are reports that miles upon miles of landscape has lost all greenery and turned into bald, dry, parched earth. While the most affected areas were Dalbandin, Washuk, Panjgur and Khetran districts.
Media reports areas suggest that the swarms have eaten countless trees in residential areas, orchards and the occasional oases. No intervention has been attempted so far.
The desert locust plagues reaches back to ancient times, but even today the desert locust remains a major agricultural threat.
Earlier this year, the UN warned swarms would be bearing down on the region thanks to unusually heavy rainfall.
It called on country and province like Balochistan in the “flight path” to take the necessary precautions to ensure the insects only had a limited impact.
The Locust swarms contain up to 80 million insects per square mile and can be spread over hundreds of square miles.
Many settlements in Dalbandin and other adjoining areas have been attacked by short-horned desert locusts on Eid day. They are visible in every street flying, jumping and idle.
It is said that the sandy areas of southern Dalbandin had been no-go for humans as well as cattle for a long time. Left alone, the pests pose a real threat to food crops, livelihoods, food security, the environment and economic development. Scores of date and pomegranate orchards have already been eaten up. Farmers say they have seen stems of date palms eaten by the locusts within hours.
Our municipalities have very weak pest scouting and control systems. Most of the local government entomologists specialize in restricting mosquito populations. What is needed is an effective strategy put in place quickly and a campaign waged strenuously. The administration in Chaghi is reported to have resorted to ground level insecticide spray without much impact.
The Centre should allocate funds for pest control. The situation demands that in the Provincial government arrange for aerial spray in the sandy district of Chagai considering early attempts have shown that ground operations may not be effective. There is need for a dedicated network to be put in place to contain further attacks. Government should take collaborative efforts to control the spread of locusts to avoid economic damage to the local agriculture sector in district Chagai and other areas.”