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      Locust Attack in Pakistan: Assessing and Dealing with the Threat

      Policy Perspectives
      Pluto Journals
      Locusts, Pakistan, COVID-19, Outbreak, Food Security, Pandemic


            The recent locust attack in Pakistan is a grave threat to food security during the pandemic of Covid-19. The government was cognizant of the threat and made strategies to overcome it. The phenomenon, however, is neither new nor over. The risk to the food security is very real and needs a cross disciplinary approach to understand the phenomenon, a transnational synergy to monitor, prevent, and control the outbreaks, and a global effort to train and equip the developing nations against the threat. Pakistan needs to remain vigilant and alert in order to monitor the internal breeding grounds in Balochistan, Sindh and Punjab, and to keep an eye on the transnational movement of the insects that might enter Pakistan. It also needs to strategize the effort through sustained national cohesion and by taking all the stakeholders onboard. This paper examines the recent locust attack and the government's response towards it. It further analyzes the threats to food security and the government strategies to be adopted. The consequences of such incidents for Pakistan in future would be disastrous in the absence of policies and in view of the unstable national economy. The locust attacks would not only pose a threat to food security; they would cause reduction in exports and necessitate import of food products. This will ultimately disturb the balance of payments, resulting in more loans. The paper aims to provide possible policy recommendations to deal with such threats, institutional arrangements, and strategies that may be workable at the micro and macro levels.


            Author and article information

            Policy Perspectives
            Pluto Journals
            1 January 2021
            : 18
            : 1 ( doiID: 10.13169/polipers.18.issue-1 )
            : 109-121
            [* ]Research Officer, International Institute for Global Strategic Analysis (IIGSA), Islamabad, Pakistan; Policy Researcher, Global Foundation for Cyber Studies and Research, Washington, DC, USA.
            © 2021, Institute of Policy Studies

            All content is freely available without charge to users or their institutions. Users are allowed to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of the articles in this journal without asking prior permission of the publisher or the author. Articles published in the journal are distributed under a http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

            Custom metadata

            Education,Religious studies & Theology,Social & Behavioral Sciences,Law,Economics
            Outbreak,COVID-19,Pandemic,Pakistan,Food Security,Locusts


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            3. Ibid.

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            7. Ibid.

            8. Ibid.

            9. “Locusts,” National Geographic, May 13, 2020, https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/invertebrates/group/locusts/.

            10. Ibid.

            11. Directorate General of Pest Warning & Quality Control of Pesticides, Government of the Punjab, “Desert Locust,” brochure, 2020, https://pestwarning.agripunjab.gov.pk/system/files/Locust%20Brochure.

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            13. Ibid.

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            15. Leoq, “Locusts.”

            16. Ibid.

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            19. Ibid.

            20. Takashi Yamano, Noriko Sato and Babur Wasim Arif, “The Impact of Covid-19 and Locust Invasion on Farm Households in Punjab and Sindh: Analysis from Cross-Sectional Surveys in Pakistan” (paper, Asian Development Bank, Mandaluyong, 2021), https://think-asia.org/bitstream/handle/11540/13843/cwwp-010-impact-covid-19-locust-farm-households.pdf?sequence=1.

            21. Ibid.

            22. Ibid.

            23. NLCC, “National Locust Stats (Pakistan)” (Islamabad: National Locust Control Centre, 2021), accessed September 29, 2021, https://www.nlcc.gov.pk/.

            24. Ibid.

            25. Yamano, Sato and Arif, “The Impact of Covid-19 and Locust Invasion on Farm Households in Punjab and Sindh: Analysis from Cross-Sectional Surveys in Pakistan.”

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            28. FAO, Report of the FAO Commission for Controlling the Desert Locust in South-West Asia.

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            30. Jenipher Camino Gonzalez, “Pakistan Declares National Emergency over Locust Swarms,” DW, February 1, 2020, https://www.dw.com/en/pakistan-declares-national-emergency-over-locust-swarms/a-52224762.

            31. Aamir Latif and Cheena Kapoor, “Amid COVID-19, Locust Attack Risks Famine in Pakistan, India,” Anadolu Agency, May 28, 2020, https://www.aa.com.tr/en/asia-pacific/amid-covid-19-locust-attack-risks-famine-in-pakistan-india-/1856085.

            32. Faiza Ilyas, “Locust Attacks May Cause Food Security Crisis in Pakistan,” Dawn, May 3, 2020, https://www.dawn.com/news/1554148.

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            34. Ibid.

            35. Yun Geng, Yingying Dong, Longlong Zhao, Wenjiang Huang, Chao Ruan, Hansu Zhang and Biyao Zhang, “Desert Locust Plague Monitoring Using Time Series Satellite Data,” International Journal of Precision Agricultural Aviation 3, no. 4 (2020): 24-30, DOI: 10.33440/j.ijpaa.20200304.111.

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            37. Ibid.

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            39. Ibid.; and Muhammad Akbar Notezai and Atika Rehman, “Locust Attack Threatens Food Security in Pakistan, South Asia,” Third Pole, May 7, 2020, https://www.thethirdpole.net/2020/05/07/locust-attack-threatens-food-security-in-pakistan-south-asia/.

            40. Department of Plant Protection, Ministry of National Food Security and Research, GoP, “Locust Operations” (Government of Pakistan, n.d.), https://plantprotection.gov.pk/services/aerial-spray/locust-operations/.

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            44. Ibid.

            45. Yamano, Sato and Arif, “The Impact of Covid-19 and Locust Invasion on Farm Households in Punjab and Sindh: Analysis from Cross-Sectional Surveys in Pakistan.”

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            53. Ibid.

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