Udayavni Special

What are Locusts and why should India be worried?


Team Udayavani, May 26, 2020, 1:28 PM IST

The locusts which bred and matured in Iran and Pakistan’s Balochistan has now reached India. Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh are faced with locust attack that poses a threat to the outstanding crops.

What are Locusts?

Locusts are large herbivorous insects that can be serious pests of agriculture due to their ability to form dense and highly mobile swarms. They are species of short-horned grasshoppers that periodically form large populations in dense migrating groups, where individuals differ in several characteristics from those living separately.

When these locusts meet suitable environmental conditions, they become gregarious and start breeding abundantly. With their population becoming denser, they form swarms and keep moving across areas damaging the crops.

Locusts in India

After Iran and Pakistan, the locust swarm has entered India and Experts have warned that if the swarms are not controlled soon enough, they can destroy the standing Moong cereal crop worth around Rs 8,000 crore.This means that the country that is already dealing with a drastic economic and health crisis due to Covid-19 is on the verge of facing the worst agricultural crisis as well.

In Rajasthan, 16 districts are affected, in UP 17 and Madhya Pradesh has reported one of the worst attacks in 27 years. The swarms are expected to enter Delhi through Rajasthan-Haryana border. The central government has set up teams with state agricultural development and making use of chemical sprays to control them from entering the city.

According to Food and Agricultural Organisation one square kilometre swarm of locusts with an average population of 40 million can eat the food of as much as 35,000 people in a day.

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