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India faces the worst locust attack in 27 years

First the virus from China now locusts from Pakistan. Massive swarms of desert locusts are destroying crops across west and central part of the country, spearing into Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab. Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana are also facing this kind of situation. The respective governments have stepped up its response to the country’s worst locust attack in nearly 3 decades.

Locusts are threatening to eat away thousands of hectares of crops in India, that’s an impending food crisis, and the problem is global.

In April these large families of locusts entered India via Pakistan. This is the worst locusts attack on India in 27 years. They spread from the Horn of Africa to Yemen then flew to Iran before attacking hectares of cotton fields in Pakistan. Locusts arrived in Pakistan from Iran in June 2019 and devoured the summer crops, cotton, wheat and maize. A single swarm can cover one square kilometre and have eighty to a hundred and fifty million locusts.

The locusts have the ability to breed phenomenally. Each locust can eat as much as it weighs and their long-range flying is troublesome. In a single day, they can cover about 150 kilometres. Since last winter these pests have been giving farmers sleepless nights.

Over the past year, most of the farmlands affected by locusts have lost 1/3 of their crops. Locusts are known to come to India around June to feed on summer crops, but this year they landed in April. This jeopardizes the agriculture-based economies of several states, and there is no quick-fix solution.

Truckloads of pesticides are being sent to different parts of the country, but these pests can only be destroyed at night when they settle on trees, even drones are being used, but the problem is much bigger. Blame global warming. The higher temperature even in winter is perfect for locusts to breed.

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