MULTAN: Pakistan’s Kissan Ittehad (PKI) on Wednesday urged Prime Minister Imran Khan to compensate farmers, whose crops were affected by locust attacks.
Speaking with reporters, PKI president Khalid Khokhar said that the PKI had begun warning the government eight months earlier when grasshoppers first appeared in agriculture after traveling from the Indian desert.
He said the Punjab government as well as the federal Department of Plant Protection had failed to take timely action against locusts.
He said even the federal government had avoided spending funds to buy airplanes for air spray or recruitment.
The government has not developed a serious strategy since the arrival of the locusts or hired human resources to fight pests, he said.
Khalid said desert grasshoppers attacked plants and gardens in central and southern Punjab and were again inactive government officials.
He said locust attacks had damaged cotton, corn, green feed and other crops, including mango orchards on a broader scale. “If it continues it will bring us to the situation of hunger in this country,” he said.
He said the bleak situation had created a threat to the livestock, fodder industry, especially small farmers and families who have all the livelihoods and dependence on these animals and milk production. The sowing of cotton plants has diminished due to lack of seeds and poor quality, he said.
He said now grasshoppers have attacked cotton plants and started eating white gold at a premature stage.
Farmers do not have seeds left in their supply for replanting crops, he said.
Likewise other Kharif crops such as corn, beans and guara have been damaged, he said.
He accused federal Plant Protection Department officials of ignoring the plight of farmers in the face of locust attacks.
He said the PKI condemned the government’s lackluster attitude towards the problem of food security, which could damage the economy and food security several times more than coronavirus.
He urged the government, relevant departments to take serious action to protect commercial cotton plants from locust attacks.
Efforts are underway to track the bodies of 2 drowned children: The Rescue-1122 search team is working hard to track the bodies of two children, who sank in the Shujabad canal 36 hours ago.
District Rescue Officer 1122 Dr Kalim said a rickshaw fell into a canal on the Shjujabad canal bridge on Tuesday night.
As a result, five-year-old Zain Tanvir and ten-year-old Khalid Noor drowned in the canal.
The channel water flow is fast and the rescue team faces difficulties in tracking objects.
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