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Why The Locust Invasion Could Be Devasting

Why The Locust Invasion Could Be Devasting
Swarms of locusts are wreaking havoc in various parts of India. These swarms are dense enough to block sunlight. This years locust invasion is the worst India has seen in 27 years - since 1993. They were spotted in Dausa district of Rajasthan on May 20. In just 5 days, they spread across 200 kilometres till Ajmer. They have now spread to Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.

Locusts are devastating the ready crops in farmlands. Seriously impacting India's food security. Over 43,000 hectares of land has already been sprayed with pesticides so far. This comes in the midst of COVID-19 and the subsequent restrictions. Food supply chains have been distorted since the lockdown was first introduced. This was aggravated due to farm labourers going back home. This is the sowing period of Kharif or monsoon crops. And invading armies of locusts are posing a threat to farming communities.

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Why The Locust Invasion Could Be Devasting?

'The desert locust invasion will likely move from East Africa to India and Pakistan by June' says the Food and Agriculture Organization, UN. A swarm of desert locust can contain up to 80 million locusts. They can feed on almost all type of crops. They breed extremely fast. Locust swarms can travel over 100 km a day. They consume most of the green vegitation wherever the swarm settles.

Locusts have formed plagues since prehistoric times. They have been a contributory cause of famine and human migrations. This year it entered India earlier than usual. The outbreak started after heavy rain over East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. And also due to frequent cyclones in the Indian ocean.

India's already fighting a tough war against COVID-19. This invading army seriously hampers India's agricultural economy. The state governments have asked the Prime Minister to declare it a 'National Calamity'. Most of the sectors are already suffering due to the COVID-19 induced lockdown. India can't afford another dampener in the agricultural sector.

TimesPro News

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