Worst attack on crops in 27 years, how is India preventing Locust threat?

India has not witnessed any full-blown locusts since 1962.

According to the Food and Agricultural Organization (FOA) United Nations reports Locusts can fly up to 150 kms a day, and a one square kilometer of Swarm can eat as much as 35,000 people, in a single day. Many countries around the globe are under the grip of Locusts. Pakistan and Somalia have recently declared locust emergency.

Countries caught in Locusts global crisis

The Horn of Africa, the Red Sea area, and southwest Asia are recently being added as the hot spots of threatening locusts, and the situation is being called as ‘extremely threatening’ in these areas.

The World Bank estimates the Horn of Africa region could suffer up to $8.5bn in damage to crop and livestock production by year-end without broad measures to reduce the Locust populations and prevent their spread. Even with the measures, losses could be as high as $2.5bn.

In southwest Asia, locusts swarms have caused damage in Iran, India, and Pakistan. Whereas, Pakistan has already declared an agricultural emergency.

In India, there are four species of locusts, Desert locusts, Migratory Locusts, Bombay locusts and Tree locust among which desert locusts is considered more dangerous in India as well as internationally.

On February 8, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres had said that Locust rise is linked to the global warming, the rise in global temperature and warmer seas mean more cyclones which is a favorable for the perfect breeding of the locusts.

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How locusts entered India and which areas are affected

The locusts entered India through Pakistan where they flew from Iran last year. In India, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Maharashtra are the affected areas where locusts has entered.

In Rajasthan, 33 districts are already invaded by the locusts and crops spreading 5,00,000 hectares have been wiped out.

The United Nations (UN) has warned that locusts swarming across continents pose“severe risk” to India’s agriculture this year.

Worst attack in 27 years

The worst invasion of locusts in India was witnessed 27 years ago in 1993. India has not witnessed any full-blown locusts since 1962.

According to the United Nations FAO the current locust’s outbreak is the biggest in 25 years Ethiopia and Somalia, 27 years in India and 70 years in India.

What is government doing to prevent the locust’s crisis

India has approached Pakistan and Iran for a joint approach in dealing with the increasing threat of desert locusts. While Iran has already shown its willingness for cooperation and a joint approach to contain the desert locusts, Pakistan has not replied to India yet.

Indian government has decided to conduct awareness programs for the farmers and officials from the affected areas.

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