A short-horned insect belonging to grasshopper family, feeds upon crops, have a swarming phase in which they group up and attack crops and end up destroying the entire field and even larger area. Eating up every bit of greenery on their way, these can travel upto 150 kms per day.
Most of the attacks by locust swarms in India since 1993 have been localised to Rajasthan. But this time, favourable weather conditions have facilitated locusts’ travel from Rajasthan to Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and even Maharashtra.
How to prevent crop destruction
During the daytime ,the hopping locusts can be crushed under vehicles with wide wheels.
The flying ones can be scared away by creating loud drumming sounds or by using torches during night .
What’s there to worry
Locust swarms eat food, food that farmers are growing for humans. If locust attacks of this proportion continue unabated, the insects will wipe out lakhs of tones of food grains and vegetables meant for human consumption.
Apart from a possible lack of food grains and vegetables, locust attacks on farms will also plunge India into fresh economic trouble.
India has issued high alert after the Locust Warning Organization (LWO) of the Union ministry of agriculture and farmer welfare warned of another attack in May-June this year. The country’s agriculture activity is at severe risk as a large swarm of locusts has arrived at Rajasthan after breeding and maturing in Iranian provinces and Pakistan’s Balochistan province.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare had initiated promotion of regional cooperation to control the locusts. The ministry has started deploying drones, satellite-derived tools, special fire-tenders, and sprayers at pre-identified border locations. Further, reportedly, the ministry is also considering to import equipment from the UK to control the locust.