Written by Kushaan Agarwal, a grade 9 student.
If the coronavirus wasn’t challenging enough, 2020 also saw one of the worst locust attacks ever. Locusts are small, cricket-like creatures that devour plants. A locust can eat plants the same volume as their bodies! It is predicted they could destroy plants worth 2 Billion Dollars! The locust attacks in India began on 11th April, but now they are slowly making their way across to Pakistan also. It is said that the harm done by them will be worse than the harm done by coronavirus to the economy in Pakistan!
Why is this so?
The locust-invasion now covers an area of 57 million hectares in Pakistan, which has a total crop area of 23 million hectares! While not all the areas infested now are croplands, the insects are now travelling everywhere. Agriculture is one of the largest sectors in the economy, contributing more than 20% to the GDP. More than half the country’s people are involved in this industry.
A businessman in the agriculture sector from Pakistan expressed his feelings for the attack by stating, “You can save yourself from coronavirus by maintaining social distance, but there’s no escaping a hunger crisis if the locusts attack.” Many crops have already been damaged. The cotton crop is seen as the most vulnerable to the pest attack which makes matters worse since cotton is accountable for half the export from Pakistan.
The threat comes just as Pakistan exits a lockdown that was imposed to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, with authorities now having to step up support for agriculture. The chief minister of Sindh province ordered the release of 132 million rupees ($807,000) his government had earlier kept for coronavirus emergency measures. He also approved another 286 million rupees for the purchase of chemicals and 25 pesticide-spraying vehicles. This made matters way worse for Pakistan, and also slowed the speed at which the country dealt with Pakistan.
This is a terrible emergency, and let’s hope that the locusts soon go away!
Written by Kushaan Agarwal
Kushaan is an aviation enthusiast. He loves to play basketball and tennis among other sports
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