Locusts attack India: Locusts attack crops in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Punjab, Haryana, and Madhya Pradeshs: All you need to know | India News

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NEW DELHI: Crops and vegetation in several Indian states have been threatened by humongous swarms of desert locust known to be the most dangerous of the migratory pests in the world. They are known to devour everything in their path, posing an unprecedented threat to the food supply and livelihoods of millions of people.
Here are details of locusts attack ravaging India and several other parts of Asia and Africa —

  • Desert Locusts are considered to be the most devastating migratory pests in the world. It is particularly characterised by its ability to breed rapidly. It typically moves in swarms, each of which can consist of an astonishing 150 million locusts per square kilometre.
  • The desert locusts feed on any kind of green vegetation, including crops, pasture and fodder. A locust population spread across an area of one square kilometre can in a day ravage crop meant for over 35,000 people, according to UN’s Food and Agricultural Organisation.
  • Abnormally heavy rains last year, which scientists say were made more likely by the long-term warming of the Indian Ocean, a hallmark of climate change, have exacerbated a locust infestation across eastern Africa. Higher temperatures make it more inviting for locusts to spread to places where the climate wasn’t as suitable before — and in turn, destroy vast swaths of farmland and pastures for some of the poorest people on the planet, reported The New York Times.
  • In February, the outbreak ravaged crop and pasture in the Greater Horn of Africa; damaging tens of thousands of hectares of cropland and pasture in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia. This is the worst outbreak in over 25 years in Ethiopia and Somalia and the worst observed in over 70 years in Kenya, FAO reported.
  • Last year, Pakistan suffered its worst attack of locusts since 1993, for which the country was largely unprepared. The locusts arrived in Pakistan from Iran in June 2019, devouring cotton, wheat and maize, among other crops. The invasion was initially expected to subside by mid-November. But it has persisted due to favourable weather conditions for continued locust breeding, linked to global warming.
  • This month, the locusts moved across the Indian Ocean to attack crops and vegetations Southern Pakistan, Iran and several Indian states such as Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat
  • The locusts made their ways into India via Pakistan. Last week, locust swarms from Pakistan entered Rajasthan, Gujarat, Punjab, Haryana, and Madhya Pradesh.
  • India has proposed to Pakistan and Iran for a coordinated approach in dealing with the alarming threat of fast-increasing desert locusts in the region.
  • In Rajasthan, sensing the scale of the problem, the Locust Warning Organisation has ordered drones for sprinkling chemicals in order to kill the locust. So far, the sprinkling was being done from fire brigade bus, tractors and gipsies.
  • Last week, the World Bank approved a record $500 million in grants and low-interest loans to help countries in Africa and the Middle East fight swarms of desert locusts that are eating their way across vast swaths of crops and rangelands.
  • Four of the hardest-hit countries – Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda – will receive $160 million immediately.
  • The World Bank estimates the Horn of Africa region could suffer up to $8.5 billion in damage to crop and livestock production by year-end without broad measures to reduce locust populations and prevent their spread. Even with the measures, losses could be as high as $2.5 billion.
  • In Kenya, the locusts are eating in one day the amount of food consumed by all Kenyans in two days, Kray said.

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