Locust threatens Pak, India

Himalayan News Service

Islamabad, May 9:

Pakistan and India could face a major locust attack in the next two months as recent widespread rainfall has made conditions congenial for breeding of the voracious pests, a Pakistan government official has said.

“These locusts may travel to Pakistan and India in June and July depending on their breeding in the Red Sea,” Akram Rashid, joint secretary in the agriculture ministry, said.

Locusts can travel great distances and the pests devour virtually everything in their path including crops, fruits and even trees. “There is no specific forecast about its intensity in Pakistan, but generally the invasion is one of the most dreaded phenomena for the agriculture sector,” another official said.

Elaborating on the locust route, Rashid said that most of the swarms in Northern Egypt had moved towards the Red Sea and if a large number of swarms arrived in Sudan and bred successfully, they might cross the Red Sea to Saudi Arabia.

“These swarms from Central Saudi Arabia may arrive at the Pakistan-India border area during June-July 2005,” Rashid said quoting a report prepared by the ministry to alert farmers especially in Sindh.