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      Locust Attack in Pakistan: Assessing and Dealing with the Threat

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

            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.

            Content

            Author and article information

            Journal
            10.2307/j50009730
            polipers
            Policy Perspectives
            Pluto Journals
            1812-1829
            1812-7347
            1 January 2021
            : 18
            : 1 ( doiID: 10.13169/polipers.18.issue-1 )
            : 109-121
            Affiliations
            [* ]Research Officer, International Institute for Global Strategic Analysis (IIGSA), Islamabad, Pakistan; Policy Researcher, Global Foundation for Cyber Studies and Research, Washington, DC, USA.
            Article
            polipers.18.1.0109
            10.13169/polipers.18.1.0109
            1aa6b8a4-0aa5-41aa-8dbc-3943bad7c871
            © 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/.

            History
            Custom metadata
            eng

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

            Notes

            1. Michel Leoq, “Locusts” (Montpellier: French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development-CIRAD, 2001), https://www.researchgate.net/publication/233996579_Locusts.

            2. Pranav Baskar, “Locusts are a Plague of Biblical Scope in 2020. Why? And … What are They Exactly?” NPR, June 14, 2020, https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2020/06/14/876002404/locusts-are-a-plague-of-biblical-scope-in-2020-why-and-what-are-they-exactly.

            3. Ibid.

            4. Stephen J. Simpson and Gregory A. Sword, “Locusts,” Current Biology 18, no. 9 (2008): 364-366, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2008.02.029.

            5. “Grasshopper Species,” Animal Corner, accessed August 2, 2021, https://animalcorner.org/grasshopper-species/.

            6. Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, GoA, “About Locusts” (Government of Australia, 2020), https://www.agriculture.gov.au/pests-diseases-weeds/locusts/about/about_locusts.

            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.

            12. Riffat Sultana and Muhammad Saeed Wagan, Grasshoppers and Locusts of Pakistan (Islamabad: Higher Education Commission, 2015), http://prr.hec.gov.pk/jspui/bitstream/123456789/45/2/GRASSHOPPERS%20AND%20LOCUSTS.pdf.

            13. Ibid.

            14. Minà Dowlatchahi, Mubarik Ahmed and Keith Cressman, “Desert Locust Invasion in Pakistan,” https://www.fao.org/pakistan/resources/in-depth/desert-locust-situation-in-pakistan/en/.

            15. Leoq, “Locusts.”

            16. Ibid.

            17. “Locusts Destroy ‘Up to 40 percent of Crops’ in Pakistan,” New Food Magazine, November 19, 2019, https://www.newfoodmagazine.com/news/99196/locusts-destroy-40-percent-crops-in-pakistan/.

            18. “Pakistan Says Working with India in Fight against Locust Menace,” Al Jazeera, June 5, 2020, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/06/pakistan-working-india-fight-locust-menace-200605072508152.html.

            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.”

            26. FAO, Report of the FAO Commission for Controlling the Desert Locust in South-West Asia (Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization 2020), http://www.fao.org/ag/locusts/common/ecg/2566/en/SWAC32e.pdf.

            27. National Agromet Centre, PMD, “Desert Locust Situation” (Islamabad: Pakistan Meteorological Department, 2020), accessed June 16, 2020, http://namc.pmd.gov.pk/locust-weather-climate.php.

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

            29. “Pakistan Locust Situation Worsens as Swarms Enter via Afghanistan,” New Indian Express, June 12, 2020, https://www.newindianexpress.com/world/2020/jun/12/pakistan-locust-situation-worsens-as-swarms-enter-via-afghanistan-2155688.html.

            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.

            33. “Surging Locust Attacks Pose Great Threat to Food Security,” Express Tribune, May 17, 2020, https://tribune.com.pk/story/2223232/1-surging-locust-attacks-pose-great-threat-food-security/.

            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.

            36. Reliefweb, “Desert Locust Situation in Pakistan: Locust Surveillance and Control Operations and Situation Analysis,” press release, May 4, 2020, https://reliefweb.int/report/pakistan/desert-locust-situation-pakistan-locust-surveillance-and-control-operations-and.

            37. Ibid.

            38. “Locust Attacks in Pakistan Raise Fear of Massive Food Shortages,” Wion News, May 29, 2020, https://www.wionews.com/south-asia/locust-attacks-in-pakistan-raise-fear-of-massive-food-shortages-301735.

            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/.

            41. Rina Saeed Khan, “Pakistan Turns Locust Threat into Chicken Feed,” Third Pole, May 28, 2020, https://www.thethirdpole.net/2020/05/28/huge-swarms-of-locusts-could-be-fed-to-chickens/.

            42. Aamir Latif, “Turkey Helps Fight Locust Onslaught in Pakistan,” Anadolu Agency, May 6, 2020, https://www.aa.com.tr/en/turkey/turkey-helps-fight-locust-onslaught-in-pakistan/1830932.

            43. 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.”

            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.”

            46. National Disaster Management Authority, Government of Pakistan, “Details of Countrywide Operation Against Locusts,” press release, June 15, 2020, http://cms.ndma.gov.pk/page/news-2020.

            47. NLCC, “National Locust Stats (Pakistan).”

            48. I. Khatri, “Current Locust Threats and Measures in Pakistan,” Pakistan Journal of Agriculture, Agricultural Engineering, and Veterinary Sciences 35, no. 1(2019): 67-71, https://pjaaevs.sau.edu.pk/index.php/ojs/article/view/318/221.

            49. Kashif Majeed Salik and Abid Qaiyum Suleri, “Understanding Climate Change and Rising Locust Outbreak Risks in Pakistan” (paper, Sustainable Development Policy Institute, Islamabad, 2020), https://think-asia.org/bitstream/handle/11540/12373/Desert-Locust-final.pdf?sequence=1.

            50. National Disaster Management Authority, Government of Pakistan, “All Out Efforts Underway to Eradicate Locusts Before it Becomes a National Calamity Chairman NDMA,” press release, February 18, 2020, http://cms.ndma.gov.pk/page/news-2019.

            51. NLCC, Situation Report up to 01 Nov 2020 (Islamabad: National Locust Control Centre, 2020), accessed December 12, 2020, https://www.nlcc.gov.pk/storage/files/iHXqVird1eOEOjPun5uQ19r7RJbS2tFqxPPAXk5x.pdf.

            52. “Desert Locust Situation Update 23 September 2021-Ethiopia,” Reliefweb, September 23, 2021, https://reliefweb.int/report/ethiopia/desert-locust-situation-update-23-september-2021.

            53. Ibid.

            54. Allan T. Showler and Michel Lecoq, “Incidence and Ramifications of Armed Conflict in Countries with Major Desert Locust Breeding Areas,” Agronomy 11, no. 1 (2021): 114, https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11010114.

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