As premier Imran Khan is having a hard time dealing with a 12-year-high inflation rate, one of Pakistan’s worst locust invasions has wreaked havoc on agricultural crops. A locust swarm has descended on the country’s Punjab province, the main agricultural region, along with cities across the Pakistan-India border. Around 40 percent of crops were destroyed on farmland in Karachi and other towns in Pakistan's Sindh province, according to Zahid Bhurguri, general secretary of the Sindh Chamber of Agriculture.
Following the infestation that first appeared in November of last year, the likes of which was last seen in Pakistan in the 1990s, the government declared a national emergency over the locust invasion that has destroyed crops of cotton, wheat, maize, tomatoes, etc.
The locust crisis hitting the agriculture sector in Pakistan comes as flour prices skyrocketed by 15 percent in January 2020 and sugar prices doubled compared with last year.
The locust invasion has made things all the more daunting for Khan, as for the fiscal year 2018-19, the harvest rose to only 0.5% to 25.195 million tonnes. The current crop loss due to locust invasion is expected to cripple the food sector in Pakistan for the upcoming several months.
More than 8,000 hectares of land have been treated with pesticides so far to deal with the locust invasion in Pakistan, as per the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).