Swarms of locusts attacked crops in various parts of tehsil Jand in Attock district on Wednesday and Thursday after agriculture department issued alert to farmers besides taking different steps to avert the attack and minimize the damages.
According to officials of agriculture department, after leaving their trail of destruction in Sindh and KP, swarms of locusts have now attacked hundreds of acres wheat crop in Jand tehsil. District Focal Person Zafar Iqbal Khan told this scribe that swarms of locusts entered in Jand tehsil of Attock from Shadi Pur area of district Kohat after playing havoc with fields in Kohat and DI Khan areas. He said that on Wednesday and Thursday, the crop eating insects brought hunger with them entered Dandi Jaswal, Sagri, Pind Saral and other areas of the district.
He said that after the locusts attack farmers started adopting safety measures while district administration issued high alert and asked farmers to beat drums and explode fireworks to minimize the attack of the locusts. “The farmers of the area are lucky enough as soon after the crop-eating grasshoppers have landed in the area massive hail storm with heavy rain hit the area resulting in killing major of locusts and their damages were limited in the area so far”. Mr Khan said.
Deputy Director Agriculture Shakeel Ahmed when contacted confirmed that locusts had entered in the district and said teams were busy in spraying pesticides in the affected areas . He said that the villagers were employing different traditional methods like making noise and beating drums to contain the damage. He said ”as the agri department was well informed and prepared for the threat we have already alerted villagers who mounted loud speakers on their tractors to add to noise”. He stated that farmers of the affected areas are being informed about precautionary measures to ward off the locusts and surveillance teams are busy in handling the situation. “The agriculture department’s teams have been given the mandate to start spraying in fields to get rid of locusts”, Mr Ahmed said.
He added that all resources will be utilized to thwart the threat of locusts attack on crops Tahir Mehmood- a Filed Assistant of the agri department told this reporter from the field by phone that district agriculture department has advised farmers to adopt precautionary measures to protect their crops from the locusts attack. He said during rain the locusts sat on the ground and that was the time to eliminate them through spray, but once it was sunshine the locusts flew in the air and were hard to kill. He said in case of rain locusts could remain alive for 20 days without eating anything. Responding a question, he said that locusts stay on trees during night-time and attacks crops after sunrise.