Pakistan’s and Indian farmers are struggling to combat the worst locust plague in nearly three decades as insect swarms decimate entire harvests in the country’s agricultural heartlands and send food prices soaring.
The insects have since fanned out and wreaked havoc on farms from East Africa to India before making their way into Pakistan from the desert on the country’s southwestern border with Iran
Scientists and government officials agree that countries in the region including India and Pakistan must coordinate their efforts to minimize the damage of future swarms.
A locust flare-up would be an equally serious threat on either side of the India-Pakistan border, says Muhammad Tariq Khan, technical director of the Department of Plant Protection, a branch of Pakistan’s National Food Security and Research agency.
So far, the two nations have been able to set aside their political differences to address the locust problem, says Khan. But cross-border conflict anywhere in the wider region has the potential to disrupt economies and food security.