Amid COVID-19 and Super Cyclone, India bracing up for locust attack

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India, that’s already dealing with an unprecedented crisis due to COVID-19 and cyclone Amphan, is bracing up for locust attack after the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation’s warning.

“Spring breeding continues in southern Iran & southwest Pakistan where control operations are in progress against hopper groups and bands as well as an increasing number of adult groups. As vegetation dries out, more groups and swarms will form and move from these areas to the summer breeding areas along both sides of the Indo-Pakistan border as several waves from now until at least early July,” FAO said in a statement.

“Good rains are predicted during the first half of June along the Indo-Pakistan border that would allow egg-laying to occur. This should reduce the further eastward movement of swarms that have already arrived in Rajasthan, India,” it added.

FAO is also monitoring the situation on a 24-hour basis and providing forecasts and early warning alerts.

To tackle the threat of locust attacks, India has also proposed to Iran and Pakistan for a coordinated approach, official sources said.

According to reports, India has also permitted its agriculture ministry to conduct ‘anti-locusts’ operations using drones in states including Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh.

It is worth noting that the plague has already caused extensive damage to crops in several countries such as Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Eritrea and Djibouti.

The desert locust, a swarming short-horned grasshopper, is one of the most devastating migratory pests. It is believed that a swarm can consume around 200 tonnes of vegetation in a single day. Swarms can even travel up to 130 km in a day.