The agriculture ministers of Pakistan, India, Iran and Afghanistan will connect via video conferencing to draw a strategy to treat with the worst locust attack hit the region in nearly three decades as crowds of the insects are destroying entire harvests in these countries.
Representatives of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) will also participate in the meeting via a video link from Abu Dhabi.
It is feared that recent rains in different areas of Pakistan and other countries in the region would further worsen the problem.
The UN has endorsed the explosive growth of locust populations to heavy rains and cyclones in the Arabian Peninsula last year.
The FAO has promised to support the Pakistani government in overcoming the crisis. Last month, the FAO and the national food security and research ministry signed a technical cooperation project agreement to develop a roadmap for locust control in the country.
China has also been helping Pakistan in controlling locust. A team of Chinese experts are working closely with their peers in Pakistan for controlling the locust problem that includes using a fungus to kill off the pests.
Pakistan has been using chemical pesticides to deal with the current locust plague and local experts hope that they can introduce China’s biological control methods to the country before the autumn harvest.
According to China Economic Net that China will send the first batch of pesticides, sprayers and other supplies to Karachi for help the Pakistani authorities in controlling the locust invasion. It includes 50,000 litres of pesticides and 14 air-powered high-efficiency remote sprayers,
Group of experts led by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of China, the International Cooperation Department of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, the Grassland Management Department of the National Forestry and Grassland Administration, the National Agricultural Technology Extension Service Centre, China Agricultural University and Shandong Plant Protection Station has already visited Sindh, Balochistan and Punjab from February 23 to March 4 to viewed locust condition in Pakistan.
According to the expert group, in the current large-scale outbreak of the locust disaster in Pakistan, the spraying of chemical pesticides and biological pesticides was more conducive to the emergency treatment of locust disasters.
The experts believe that the next four to six weeks will be a dangerous period for the eradication of locusts in Balochistan.
The Chinese officials said that China and Pakistan will win the two battles of the new coronavirus epidemic and the locust crisis with the joint efforts from both sides.