2020 has another trick in its bag for India as the country faces its worst locust attack in almost 30 years. These insects swarmed the North of India and have approximately destroyed 50,000 hectares of crop yielding fields. These locusts, originally breeding in East Africa, seem to have been flying in from Pakistan, attacking Rajasthan, first and then proceeding on to cause destruction in Madhya Pradesh, followed by Delhi, Maharashtra and U.P.
These young desert locusts can eat their own body weight, which is about 2 gm, and can fly about 150 km per day. They not only threatened food security of the border states but also flew in with the strong westerly winds from Cyclone Amphan in the Bay of Bengal.
Usually, these locust buzz about from June onwards but this year they were spotted since the month of April. K.L. Gurjar, the deputy director of India’s Locust Warning Organization, broke the news that eight to ten of such swarms have actively destroyed the seasonal yield of Rajasthan and M.P. of this year. The states will be facing a shortage of food, thus, an increase in the yield prices. Such a critical food shortage was last witnessed in 1993 in India. The rabi crops of this year were harvested before the attack but the swarm needs to be controlled before the ruin of the kharif crop which is to be harvested later in the year.
Scientist say that the same kind of invasion was witnessed by Africa as well. The reason for it is the unusually warm weather in both the countries along with heavy amounts of rain. The climate change has taken the blame for the plague.
The state governments have alerted themselves and taken several measures to fight off this uncalled for chaos. The locust movement is being tracked, teams have formed and control rooms have been established. Advisories have been issued for the beating of utensils and making of loud noises if there is an attack.
The farmers need a quick relief from this torment as this year has already impacted them, adversely. The COVID-19 blocked the economic cycle of the country and the poor sections have already run out of savings, another juncture in the flow of their livelihood will break the backbone of the country.