- After Iran and Pakistan, the locust swarm has entered India
- climate change may have played a role in this massive locusts incursion , says scientists
DELHI: With the outbreak of COVID-19 and the destructive trails of cyclone Amphan in Kolkata and Odisha, India is once again gearing up to protect the agriculture and food crops from Locust attack. Locust plague had been in the air as the land crops and entire vegetation had wiped up in Pakistan.
Pakistan Prime Minister, Imran Khan had declared a national emergency due to locust plague. The National Action Plan (NAP) declared an amount of 7.3 billion Pakistani Rupees to deal with the emergency and ensure the safety of the people.
Sources claim that the locust swarm is expected to enter India from Pakistan through Baluchistan region, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The officers have alerted the nation and suggested several steps to safeguard the crops and vegetation. The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate change has already notified that the locust swarms have advanced towards Rajasthan, Punjab Haryana and Madhya Pradesh. However, in the pandemic, the locust swarms have entered earlier than expected.
India has formed a trilateral coordinated initiative with Pakistan and Iran to combat the plague. A few months back Punjab Chief Minister, Amarinder Singh discussed with Pakistan over the issue and consider the latter to check on the breeding status of locusts.
Keith Cressman, a senior locust forecasting officer at Food and Agricultural Organisation has warned that this year would be one of the worst locust plagues in a decade. Locust plague is a big threat to food security as the swarm of locusts can proceed from 1 sq. km to 100 sq.km devastating the farm and can consume food as much as 35, 000 people can.
Though, India has already prepared some strategies to deal with locust plague through aerial spraying. The country has several types of equipment to gather meteorological and topological data to examine the advancement.
Desert Locust is an insect that is categorized as a species of grasshopper. They show behavioral changes and go on breeding rapidly in a suitable environment. The rapid rise of the population tends to damage the entire vegetation referred to as ‘locust plague’.
Since December 2019, an international locust outbreak of exceptional severity spread across the Horn of Africa and the Middle East before moving on to Asia.