Pakistan may lose $ 8.71 billion in agricultural crops during the summer in case the grasshopper destroys 75 percent of the crops.
Senior agricultural scientist Dr. Chaudhry Inayatullah said this when he spoke at an online lecture, entitled ‘Grasshopper Attacks & Food Security Issues’, organized by a think tank, Sindh Social Scientists Forum. A large number of agricultural experts, representatives of the provincial agriculture department, and civil society activists attended the discussion.
Dr Inayatullah is an advisor to the Agricultural Research Council of Pakistan and chief executive of Ace Worldwide Action for the Revitalization of Sustainable Development. He also worked as a consultant for the European Union and worked on grasshopper issues in Sudan and South African countries.
He said grasshopper attacks in Pakistan during the year were severe and coordinated efforts from federal and provincial government departments were essential to eliminate locust swarms, which are now in the billions.
Dr Inayatullah said it was estimated that if 25 percent of plants were damaged during this season, the loss would be $ 2.9 billion and if 50 percent of the plants were eaten by grasshoppers, the loss would be around $ 5.8 billion.
“Monitoring locusts and spraying breeding sites in Pakistan was a routine activity, but last year the opportunity was missed. As a result, the country faces the worst attack from desert locusts, which are present in 60 districts in all provinces, “he said.
“Controlling desert locusts while in flocks is operations and communication between countries, and early warning to other countries is the key to success,” he said. “Spraying large areas is not ecologically good practice because it kills all beneficial insects but in a clustered stage, that is the only way out. The use of semichemistry is ideal when grasshoppers are in a solitary and transient phase. “
He added that currently, pesticide sprays are being carried out in Pakistan via special aircraft, which have been donated recently by China.
Explaining the history of locust attacks on earth, he recalled that its history can be traced back to Egypt during the Pharaoh period and its mention is also in the Islamic scriptures. “In recent history, it began in African countries in 1993 and spread to Asian countries.”
Some chemicals, referred to as pheromones or semiochemicals, are released by individual grasshoppers which help unite couples, keep nymphs and adults together, and signal all nymphs to mature together and get ready for flight, he said.
“After the season ends, grasshoppers no longer produce pheromone aggregation but produce antibodies, so they disperse because the season is not favorable for their reproduction and this is called the recession stage,” explained the expert.
Sharing his research experience in Sudan to disrupt communication among individual grasshoppers at various stages of their life cycle, he said that if communication was disrupted, the herd could not be formed. “That is the exact same strategy used by the army to disrupt enemy communication.”
He said he had studied individual grasshoppers captured from South Africa, Brazil and other countries at the British Museum of Natural History, London, and observed that they had the same morphological characteristics as those that breed in the coastal regions of the Red Sea.
LAHORE: Lockouts due to the global pandemic have added to the problem of a dilapidated national hockey sport and as the Secretary of the Hockey Federation of Pakistan, Asif Bajwa said, under the current situation they will face major challenges in the coming days.
Coronavirus and lockdown will also have a negative impact on the country’s economic sport situation. Speaking to the media, he said that because of the postponement of national and international events due to the corona virus, national hockey players had become unemployed and “we will face more severe challenges in the coming days.”
The Federation’s Hockey Secretary said that because of the virus, all foreign tours of junior and senior national teams including the Asian Junior Cup and the Azlan Shah Cup had been postponed while the domestic calendar would be restructured if the situation improved.
The PHF secretary said that the goal of the players’ online fitness plan is to keep them active and fit. On the other hand, work is ongoing in the Pakistan Hockey League but holding the league this year depends on the circumstances.
In addition, PHF has suspended all national and international activities until August. According to the PHF schedule, the national junior hockey team is scheduled to play 12 matches against the Dutch, German and Belgian junior teams in the first week of May.
The European national hockey team tour in June-July has also been postponed due to the corona virus situation in these countries. If life returns to normal after coronavirus, training camps for the national team can be held before August, but no domestic hockey events will be held until August.
Islamabad: Hundreds of field workers from Pakistan’s National Life Insurance Company (SLIC) numbering more than 200,000 face great financial difficulties and have appealed to Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed Khan to resolve their complaints.
Mulazim Hussain, leader of All Pakistan SLIC Field Workers along with Sales Manager, Sardar Altaf, Ch Abdul Manaf, Najeeb Abbasi, Islamabad Zon accused that due to the adoption of the policy since February 1, 2010 by the Board of Governors of this company, where all SLIC sales officers were merged into Sales Manager cadres because 50% of the emoluments / benefits are reduced.
They alleged that because of this policy not only did SLIC face a negative impact in relation to generating financial income but also 28 field workers died after being affected by this plan.
Likewise, with the spread of coronavirus in February and subsequent lockdowns, the situation has worsened forcing field workers to suffer in terms of earning income through commissions that they say have touched zero level.
Continuing, they charged that although field workers suffered greatly and raised their voices to get justice, the high-level authority when adopting a stubborn attitude did not take steps to provide them with any assistance to improve their financial situation.
The field workers do not get a salary but rely on the commission, claims Sardar Altaf along with other representatives. On the other hand with our hard work, full dedication, SLIC has achieved a triple rating award (AAA) and made great progress which includes the construction of buildings worth billions of rupees across the country that have been leased to different parties.
Sardar Altaf, Mulazim Hussain Khera along with others appealed to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Gulzar Ahmed Khan for taking suo moto action with the aim of resolving the SLIC fieldworker’s problem. Likewise, they also appealed to the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, to immediately pay attention to resolve the complaints of field workers who face major problems after new law enforcement since February 1, 2019.
When contacted by SLIC’s Executive Director, Muhammad Izqar Khan, denied the claims of field workers that they suffered from a high level of control from management. Instead, clearing, he said that the decision was taken at a meeting of the Board of Governors of the State Life Insurance Company in accordance with the instructions of the Pakistan Securities and Exchange Commission (SECP). He said that SECP had directed all insurance companies to limit their spending to cope with losses.
Following the SECP directives, the Board of Governors decided to promote the sales clerk as Sales Manager. He also denied that when promoting the sales clerk to become a Sales Manager cadre, there was no reduced commission, instead, he said it increased by 2 to 3 percent. The policy was announced and decided by the Board of Governors taken to save costs and not to field staff. He also denied the number of field workers. Izkar Khan stated that the number of field workers of 2 lakhs was an exaggeration that was too high as alleged by field staff.
(MENAFN – Gulf Times) Prime Minister Imran Khan said that the federal government will continue to help all provinces overcome the coronavirus pandemic.
He made this statement during a meeting at the Hayatabad Medical Complex in Peshawar, where he was given a detailed description of the coronavirus situation in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).
The prime minister appreciated the provincial government’s move against the pandemic, saying that in the current situation, the government’s focus should also be on providing assistance to segments of the population that are weak and poor.
Khan directed the provincial governor, chief minister and relevant ministers to visit the province’s affected areas and ensure the provision of facilities there.
On that occasion, the prime minister was told that 275 quarantine centers had been established in the province, with the capacity to accommodate 18,000 patients.
Khan was told that 583 ventilators were available in the province and that this number was increasing.
To deal with emergencies, 639 regular doctors and 1,299 people in contracts have been recruited.
In addition, 9,000 retired doctors, nurses and paramedical staff have offered their services voluntarily, to be used when needed.
Four hundred response teams have been formed in the province at the official level.
The meeting was told that the coronavirus testing capacity was also being increased.
It was told that the chief minister had recently announced an aid package worth Rs32bn.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Khan also visited the Ehsaas ration and cash point in Peshawar, and reviewed the arrangements there.
He was briefed by the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr Sania Nishtar about the steps taken by the government to provide financial assistance to the poor in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The prime minister also distributed cash among the underprivileged under the Ehsas Program.
Meanwhile, President Dr. Arif Alvi has asked the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to ensure the provision of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other medical equipment needed for hospitals.
He spoke with NDMA chairman Lieutenant General Mohamed Afzal in Islamabad.
Alvi expressed appreciation for the arrangements made by NDMA to address the current pandmeic coronavirus.
Afzal highlighted the steps taken by NDMA to support the health sector and the medical community by providing them with PPE and medical equipment.
He mentioned that the NDMA had formed a database of doctors and nurses and medical equipment for the first time, which would be very helpful for future coordination needs.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister’s Special Assistant to the National Security Division and Strategic Policy Planning Mooed Yusuf said that the government would bring back as many as 2,000 stranded Pakistanis starting this week.
“This week the layoffs in the Gulf, freeing prisoners, Zaireen, and some with time-bound visas and trapped in hotels, including many of government spending, will return,” he said.
“We will continue to bring back stranded Pakistanis over the next week, with around 2,000 passengers returning during this period, Yusuf added.
He said that starting this week, ‘some airports will start operating for incoming traffic.
Many Pakistanis were stranded in various parts of the world when the country closed its airspace to international flights.
Pakistan International Airlines also said that it would expand its aid flight operations in an effort to repatriate stranded Pakistanis across the world.
Yusuf also said that stranded passengers were prioritized among those brought back, and that the passenger volume was decided after taking into account our ability to test and quarantine incoming passengers to ensure public safety.
“All passengers will be tested and quarantined for seven days by the government, and then they must observe seven days of quarantine themselves,” he said.
Yusuf also mentioned that the country’s land borders would remain closed, ‘with the exception of truck traffic that is controlled, one-way, to meet the supply of staple food and medicine to Afghanistan.
He called the decision ‘a sign of brotherhood and humanitarian assistance made after a request from the Aghan government.
“We have successfully repatriated Afghans who left Torkham and Chaman on foot this week. Again, this is a one-time exception in response to requests from the Afghan government, he added.
The corona virus pandemic has forced countries around the world to close their borders and airspace to curb the spread of the disease and Pakistan is no exception.
So far, Pakistan has recorded a total of 4,792 confirmed coronavirus cases: 1,214 in Sindh, 2,336 in Punjab, 656 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 220 in Baluchistan, 118 in Islamabad, 215 in Gilgit-Baltistan (GB), and 33 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir .
In addition, the country has reported 71 deaths due to pandemics: 25 in KP, 22 in Sindh, 18 in Punjab, two in Baluchistan, three in GB, and one in Islamabad.