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Swarms of locusts have invaded agriculture fields across Pakistan risking food security

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Jul 09, 2020 - 05:43 AM

KARACHI, Pakistan (AA) – Pakistan on Tuesday said it has developed drones to fight swarms of locusts that have invaded agriculture fields across the country, risking food security.

In a statement, the National Radio Telecommunication Corporation (NRTC), a state-run telecommunication manufacturing company, said the indigenously made drones would be used to spray insecticides and pesticides on fields in the country.

The development came a day after Prime Minister Imran Khan handed over the first tranche of locally produced ventilators — also manufactured by the NRTC — to the country’s disaster management authorities as part of battle against the coronavirus pandemic.

In Pakistan, hopper bands of the Schistocerca gregaria — commonly known as the desert locust — have already devoured large quantities of crops in over 60 districts in all four provinces in the country.

The locusts are believed to have entered into the southwestern Balochistan province from neighboring Iran.

These insects, mainly originating from deserts, eat anything from bark to seeds and flowers while traveling up to a speed of 93.2 miles a day.

The region saw the first wave of the locust invasion in May last year since 1993.

According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Pakistan’s 38% of agriculture fields are breeding grounds for the insects.

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