Locusts attack crops in several states in India; Mathura, Delhi on alert


New Delhi (NVI): Farmers in several parts of India fear imminent threat to their crops due to locust outbreak as large swarms of the migratory pests have entered in the country via Pakistan, and have already reached Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra after attacking parts of Rajasthan.

Huge swarms of desert locusts have reached as far as Panna in Bundelkhand region in Madhya Pradesh. At least ten districts in Uttar Pradesh are on alert, including Mathura. National capital Delhi is also on alert as the swarm expands the area.

Desert locusts move in large groups, called swarms and can eat crops up to their own weight every day. When millions of locusts descend on a crop, they destroy everything.

These pests have already invaded East Africa, threatening crops that feed millions of people and undermining food security in the Afro-Asian region. The locust menace is worrying especially amid the Covid-19 outbreak.

In India, the migratory pests have reached Maharashtra where four to five villages have come under attack. Huge swarms were also seen in Jaipur as the locusts made their way into the pink city through Western Rajasthan.

Netizens have also reacted to the unusual and “scary” sight of these pests on their terrace, colonies and trees.

Parveen Kaswan, an IFS (Indian Forest Service) officer tweeted, “This time desert locust attack is severe. They have arrived earlier, in huge numbers & now reached till Panna in MP. The changing climate conditions are linked with locust growth in east Africa. The swarms has potential of eating everything & destroy the crops.”

In a series of tweets, he further stated, “In last two years we are seeing an upsurge in locust swarms. The reason according to experts is Mekunu and Luban cyclonic storms of May and October 2018 in Oman & Yemen. Which created condition for upsurge in population. You see climatic condition has such role in pest production.”

Earlier in December 2019, when parts of Gujarat were invaded by locusts, they had destroyed crops spread over 25,000 hectares of land. This time, the attack is more widespread.

Meanwhile in Rajasthan, the pest attack has reached residential colonies of Jaipur. Unable to find crops to feed on, the locusts have started destroying trees.

In addition to this, United Nations has also warned that armies of locusts swarming across continents pose a “severe risk” to India’s agriculture this year.