Locusts to Return to India likely During Monsoon; FAO Sounds Alert

Story Highlights
  • Locusts to re-invade Indian fields
  • FAO alerts the agricultural department
  • Ground control capabilities strengthened

New Delhi: India tackled the worst locust attack in 26 years in 2020, after a swamp of the locust migrated to Indo Pakistan border travelled east to northern states with the advent of monsoon.

FAO in its latest release has warned the agricultural sector of a few small groups of immature adult locusts that could form and move east to the Indo-Pakistan border. The breeding is likely to commence in a similar pattern as the previous attack, however, the locust quantity would remain low. 

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 “We are monitoring the situation as per FAO’s desert locust update, but the chances of a locust attack are very low, said KL Gurjar, deputy director of the Locust Warning Organization (LWO). To further strengthen ground control capabilities,70 new pieces of equipment were procured from the United Kingdom to increase the number of ground control teams to 104. Additionally, 55 vehicles were procured to strengthen the control potential. Last year, the department had strengthened its aerial control by deploying drones, a Bell helicopter and a customised Mi17 Helicopter of the Indian Air Force.

Locust Attacks are not a regular phenomenon. According to the Ministry of agriculture and farmers welfare report, large scale incursions occur characteristically in cycles of heightened activity for a couple of years, followed by long periods of inactivity.

 Locust attacks were reported in India during 2019-20 and 2020-21 when locusts migrated to India after a gap of 26 years. During 2019-20, a locust incursion was reported in Rajasthan, Gujarat and Punjab, while in 2020-21, there was locust incursion in Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra along with Rajasthan, Gujarat and Punjab.

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