India encounters its worst locust swarm attack in decades

The locusts have wrecked more than 50,000 hectares of cropland, putting further stress on the food provision in India as authorities fight to contain the spread of coronavirus.

The Indian authorities sent out drones and tractors to monitor on the desert locusts and spray insecticides on them, in one of the most terrible locust swarm attack witnessed by the country in almost 30 years. With about 50,000 hectares of cropland ruined by locusts, India is encountering its worst food insufficiency since 1993. 

 K.L. Gurjar, the deputy director of India’s Locust Warning Organization told news medium AFP that “Eight to 10 swarms, each measuring around a square kilometer, are active in parts of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh,” The locusts have even headed to other states of India like Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh.

On 25th May 2020, a swarm of locusts diseased the city of Jaipur in Rajasthan, since traveling into India from Pakistan. Gurjar alerted that the locusts could move forward towards Delhi give provided that the wind speed and direction were favorable.

As per the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) desert locusts generally attack the western part of India and few parts of Gujarat from June to November. Although, the Ministry of Agriculture’s Locust Warning Organization noticed them in India back in April in the present year. 

A swarm of 40 million locusts can consume so much food as 35,000 humans, as reported by the FAO estimates. The current swarm invasion has wrecked seasonal harvests in the states of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. This will in turn result in reduced production than usual and an increase in the costs. 

Heavy rains and cyclones in the Indian Ocean are being indicated as reasons for enhanced breeding of locusts this year, stated experts. This invasion covers a broader geography in India. The FAO has alerted that the locust infestation will rise in the following month. 

But, India isn’t the only country that is being attacked by a huge swarm of locusts in the current year.  Several other countries like Pakistan, Yemen, and parts of East Africa have also experienced these desert pests and their devastation. In February 2020, Pakistan announced a national emergency owing to the locust attacks in the eastern part of the country. These pests destroyed their cotton, wheat, maize, and other harvests.

At the beginning of this month, the FAO mentioned that they had made progress in handling this locust invasion by saving 720,000 tons of grains in about 10 countries.

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