Pakistan daily urges global community to support Iran, Pakistan to fight locust attacks

Islamabad, May 20, IRNA -- A leading Pakistani English news daily has called upon the international community to give its best possible support to the call being made by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation for funds to help Pakistan and Iran in their fight against a new locust invasion.

Daily ‘Dawn’ in its editorial comments on Wednesday said that the dangerous pest has been threatening crop and non-crop vegetation in many parts of the world, in addition to Pakistan and Iran, for quite a few years now.

“But the danger has taken an altogether new dimension in the wake of food security apprehensions being expressed by experts in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic,” it said.

The paper added that food security, protection of rural livelihoods and sustainable agriculture are central to any scheme to restore the Covid-19 world to minimum functioning levels.

“However, countries like Pakistan and Iran that face massive economic losses and unemployment in this period have little financial space to combat a fresh upsurge of the plague,” said Dawn.

It said that the devastation, which the locust infestation is feared to cause, will further weaken these countries’ ability to fight this threat or stop it from spreading to neighboring countries, unless the wealthier nations step in to help them sustain their efforts to avert a food security crisis.

Dawn noted the international funds collected by the FAO in January had helped it make significant gains in dealing with the plague in East African countries and Yemen.

“For Pakistan, where 38pc of the area are breeding grounds for the swarms, the situation is already turning dire as struggling farmers from different parts of the country are reporting severe crop damage,” warned the paper.

It said the FAO director general has rightly stated that “the battle is long”.

“Unless this war is won, the locust plague in Pakistan may wipe out more livelihoods than the Covid-19 contagion and worsen food security in the coming months,” said the editorial.

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