Drones, planes to be used to fight locust attack in Rajasthan

10 UP districts on alert after locust swarms attack crops in Rajasthan MP

Locust attack: India looks to Pakistan, Iran for help in fighting swarm

"Locust swarms have arrived in Jhansi from Rajasthan. It is a severe attack", Om Prakash, a plant-protection officer, who works in Rajasthan state. But, India has not witnessed any full-blown locust cycles after 1962.

Some 38% of Pakistan's area spread over the provinces of Balochistan, Sindh and Punjab are "breeding grounds" for locusts, according to a report by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.

There are worrying spillover consequences for South-west Asia.

Officials said that it is for the first time that locusts have invaded residential areas of the city in the summer months. One reason for this was the uncontrolled swarms of the previous season in Pakistan that breed continuously.

An invasion by desert locusts has hit large swathes of India and Pakistan in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.

The locusts spread from the horn of Africa to Yemen, then flew to Iran before attacking hectares of cotton fields in Pakistan. They can form dense swarms in response to environmental stimuli.

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The massive swarms have so far crossed over 50,000 hectares of land, as per the state agriculture department.

Considered the most destructive migratory pest in the world, a swarm of desert locust containing around 40 million locusts can consume (or destroy) food that would suffice the hunger need of 35,000 people, assuming that one person consumes around 2.3 kg of food every day.

Several videos shared on social media platforms have seen farmers damaging crops by harming a giant locust that is trying to drive them away.

At least 10 districts in Uttar Pradesh that border Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan have been put on alert after swarms of locusts attacked crops in the two States, an official said on Tuesday.

India reached out to Pakistan last week for jointly fighting the menace. How are the Indian farmers handling the situation and what is the government doing?

"Yesterday night, we have destroyed a swarm of about 6 KM in length and 1 KM in breadth".

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Over the past year, most of the farmlands affected by locusts have lost over one-third of their crops.

According to reports, the Rajasthan government is analysing tenders so that drones can be used to counter the locust threat.

These locusts which migrated to India early this year might have found greener pastures as the pre-monsoon rains during March-May were in excess over north India this year.

"The ones coming in are young adults capable of covering 200km to 250km a day, compared with the earlier ones that covered 150km to 200km per day", he told The Straits Times.

"If we are not able to control the sub-adults (the swarms that are already in MP and Rajasthan) they will grow into adults come back to the summer breeding sites along the Indo-Pak border in the desert".

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