Gujarat is observing a locust outbreak, officials informed recently. The outbreak has been observed in Banaskantha, Mehsana, Kutch, Patan, and Sabarkantha areas over the last few days.
According to sources, swarms of locusts, which are majorly tropical grasshoppers, were demolishing crops like mustard, castor, fennel, cumin, cotton, potato, wheat, and jatropha.
The swarms have become the major concern for the farmers who have approached local authorities for support. Agriculturalists share that the swarms have gone down from Pakistan, bordering Gujarat.
“The new-born locusts have wreaked havoc on standing crops in five districts and damaged crops on around 500,000 hectares,” Abodh Patel, a farmer in Banaskantha said.
Locals said an alike capturing of locusts was seen in 1994.
Local media reports stated that authorities in the state ignored an alert from the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of a major locust attack in South Asia covering Pakistan and India.
“Locust Warning Organization (LWO) in Jodhpur had noticed the swarms and predicted their trajectory across the international border. However, preventive measures by the authorities were not taken,” a local media report said.
Farmers shared that in the unavailability of any support from the government they hire labourers and using age-old techniques like beating drums and vessels to scare the locusts.
“The technique is not working but we can’t see our crops being easily taken away by insects,” Patel said.
Agriculture officials in Gujarat while addressing the upsurge of locust said they have been attempting to contain it.
“We are trying hard to contain this outbreak and launched a pesticide-spraying operation to kill the insects,” an official at the district collector’s office in Banaskantha said.