Locust swarm 2020 India
A moment of big crisis has come for Indian farmers, who already face from flood to drought situations every year. Apart from facing worst weather conditions amid coronavirus outbreak this year, farmers are suffering due to one more big problem. And that is locust swarm.
In the lines below, I have explained everything you need to know about the locust swarm. And its impact on farmers’ lives during coronavirus pandemic. Also, you can read here how powerful locusts area, what challenges coming up and how the country is handling this.
Locust swarm 2020 India: What’s latest
As locusts invaded a number of regions in the country, control operations continues in over 3.5 lakh hectare area. The regions include Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Bihar, Jharkhand and other regions. Centre has said that it has taken a number of actions to control locust swarm.
Locust Circle Offices (LCO) in the affected states have been carrying out operations in over 3.5 lakh hectare area since April 11 this year, govt informed. Alone in Rajasthan, swarms of locust have affected about one lakh hectare of land across 20 districts. This year’s swarm has made India see worst desert locust outbreak in three decades. As the locust have headed towards Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, Centre has altered 12 states of the country.
It all started on April 11 this year, when locust swarm from Sindh province of Pakistan entered Indian state of Rajasthan and then moved towards neighboring state of Madhya Pradesh. Since then the locust swarm has traveled through the states of Utter Pradesh, Punjab, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Bihar and Jharkhand, invading vast swathes of land in the regions.
When locust swarm began in India
As the deadly locust swarm has ruined vast lands full of crops, farmers have to suffer the most. This is at the time they were already under huge economic crisis due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, more challenges are coming up with locust swarm. Last year, mature locusts had entered in some parts of the country after 26 years of gap.
This year immature locusts, just 10 to 12 days old, have entered in the regions. This makes the challenge tougher as these types of locusts are not fully grown. They can cause more harm and also they have a longer lifespan. It will be far more challenging to handle them once they start breeding.
The locusts came here in search of food but did not get much vegetation as Rabi crop season was already over and Kharif crop season was yet to come. In monsoon, they lay eggs and continue breeding for two months, making the situation more difficult, say experts.
More challenges coming up
A locust swarm can be enormously powerful for a vast destruction. A swarm can be of less than one square kilometre to many hundred square kilometres in size. A swarm of one square kilometre in size can consist of around 40 million locusts. It can eat food as much as eaten by around 35,000 people, assuming that 2.3 kilogram food a person can consume in a day.
Local villagers in different states make noises by beating utensils or bursting crackers, as officials say, this helps in removing locusts from their resting place in the area. However, organophosphate chemicals are relied upon widely in many countries to combat locusts. In Rajasthan, drones are being used to spray pesticide across the locust-affected areas.
During a 15-minute flight, a drone can spray pesticide on around 2.5 hectares of land. Experts have predicted more such locust swarms to enter in India from Pakistan border. In the days of coronavirus outbreak, the locusts attack has made the situation worst for the farmers in the country.