The desert locust is considered the most destructive migratory pest in the world and a single swarm covering 1 square kilometre can contain up to 80 million locusts.
NEW DELHI: Swarms of desert locusts swept Jaipur on Monday as the insect onslaught spread wider to parts of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. Locusts can destroy standing crops and devastate livelihoods of people. Scientists are blaming the higher frequency of cyclones originating in the Indian ocean in 2019 for the increased incidents of locust attacks this year.
Gujarat and Punjab have warned their farmers of locust attacks.
This is the second round of locust attack in India, the first one having occurred during December-February. Today is the fourth consecutive day of attacks on the Indian side in the current cycle. The desert locust is considered the most destructive migratory pest in the world and a single swarm covering 1 square kilometre can contain up to 80 million locusts.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) had on Friday said there was an increased risk along both sides of the India-Pakistan border.
Locust attacks in 12 countries, including Pakistan, Iran and ten nations in Africa, have damaged crops over millions of hectares.
Countries in Africa and West Asia have been battling swarms of locusts since December. Sindh, Balochistan and Punjab in Pakistan have been severely affected by the attacks.
“Despite control operations, recent heavy rains have created ideal conditions for the pest's reproduction in several countries. Young juveniles will become voracious adults in June just as farmers begin to harvest, compounding an already bleak food security situation," FAO warned in its Friday release.
The World Bank has set up a $500 million programme to help countries in Africa and the Middle East combat the impact of locusts.