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Early Arrival of Locusts Makes India Afraid

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Early Arrival of Locusts Makes India Afraid

While the country is already struggling to get back on its feet amid the coronavirus lockdown, a locust infestation could cause further devastation to the agri-economy.

After Rajasthan, Locusts Enter Maharashtra, Delhi – Why is This a Worrying Situation?

It started last year in Iran from where it spread to Pakistan and then entered India from Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. The desert locusts, one of the most damaging migratory pests, have infested parts of North and Central India and are now entering the Vidharba region on eastern Maharashtra, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh. While the country is already struggling to get back on its feet amid the coronavirus lockdown, a locust infestation could cause further devastation to the agri-economy.

Locusts are one of the oldest migratory pests in the world. They differ from ordinary grasshoppers in their ability to change behaviour and form swarms that can migrate over large distances, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.

Of all its species, the Desert Locust (the ones attacking India) is the most destructive and can form dense swarms in response to environmental stimuli. During a plague, it has the potential to easily affect 20 per cent of the Earth’s land, more than 65 of the world’s poorest countries, and damage the livelihood of one-tenth of the world’s population.

Officials in three states are racing to control the desert locust swarms that have now spread to three states, adding to the logistical challenges of district officials at a time when containing the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) has been the top-most priority.

State and federal agencies need to eliminate as much of these locusts as possible prior to the arrival of monsoon, the point when the swarms could go through another round of breeding and turn into a bigger threat, said the Locust Warning Organisation under the Union agriculture ministry.