India has not heard from Pakistan about proposals for a joint coordinated response with Iran to control the desert grasshopper problem, people familiar with the developments said on Thursday.
Iran has responded positively to India’s proposal, which includes an offer to supply pesticides to control grasshopper populations in the provinces of Sistan-Balochistan and South Khorasan, the men said on condition of anonymity.
The proposal was made against the background of reports that crowds of destructive pests were heading to Indian countries such as Rajasthan after breeding and maturing in the provinces of Iran and Pakistan’s Balochistan province.
“It remains to be seen whether Pakistan will rise above its petty approach, as seen in the case of India’s regional initiative to deal with Covid-19, and move forward to work with India in coordinated desert locust control operations,” said one person quoted above.
India debated a coordinated response to controlling the desert grasshopper population to Iran and Pakistan as part of efforts for further regional cooperation. India has advised Pakistan that the two countries can coordinate grasshopper control operations along their borders and New Delhi can facilitate the supply of Malathion pesticides to Islamabad, people said.
“The mechanism instituted by the Locust Warning Organization can be energized for such cooperation. This effort will contribute to reducing the impact of desert locusts not only in the other two countries, but also for India, “said the second person.
Pakistan is the last country to pledge contributions to the Covid-19 Emergency Fund Association of the South Asian Association, which was made at the initiative of India, and has pushed for the funds to be placed under the Saarc Secretariat.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), hordes of grasshoppers are ripe on the plains of southwestern Iran, and another generation of breeding is taking place in the southeast of the country, where hatcheries occur on the coast and inland. from Sistan-Baluchistan.
In Pakistan, adult grasshopper groups migrate to the Indian border from breeding sites in Balochistan, where hopper groups are present, and from the provinces of Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
FAO reports show that grasshopper populations are expected to move from the spring breeding area in Balochistan to summer breeding along the India-Pakistan border. In India, more groups of adults and small groups have arrived from Pakistan in recent weeks, and moved to Rajasthan, reaching Jodhpur.
The agriculture ministry is leading India’s efforts to control grasshoppers and also spearheading initiatives to encourage regional cooperation, people said.
India has an institutionalized mechanism with Pakistan for such cooperation, including regular border meetings between grasshopper officers from both sides. Six border meetings, led by Indian and Pakistani plant protection advisers, are held every year from June to November, either in Munabao on the Indian side or Khokhropar on the Pakistani side to exchange information.
Wireless communication is maintained every year during June-November between Jodhpur in India and Karachi in Pakistan for information exchange.
“There is a consensus that desert grasshoppers can pose big challenges by 2020. The agriculture ministry has begun efforts to tackle this problem. In March, agriculture minister Kailash Choudhary participated in a virtual meeting for the southwest Asia region coordinated by the FAO to discuss regional cooperation to combat the problem of desert grasshoppers, “the first person quoted above said.
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