Report By Nandika Chand | Kashmir Srinagar | Last Updated at May 23 2020
A single swarm covering one square kilometer can consist up to 80 million locust. It can eat as much as food as 35,000 people.
India is seeking Pakistan’s help to fight off locusts. This comes a day after a top UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned of desert locust moving from East Africa to India and Pakistan.
An official source said New Delhi had proposed a trilateral response in partnership with Pakistan and Iran to combat the desert locust invasion. Experts describe this insect as the “most destructive migratory pest in the world”. A single swarm covering one square kilometer can consist up to 80 million locust. It can eat as much as food as 35,000 people.
Keith Cressman, FAO Senior Locust Forecasting Officer, said the world is facing teh worst desert locust situations in decades. “Its obviously being focused at the moment on East Africa, where its extremely vulnerable in terms of livelihoods and food security.” He said the locust invasion is most serious in Kenya, Somalia, Ethipoia, southern Iran and in parts of Pakistan. “Its expected to move from Kenya to throughout Ethipoia as well as to Sudan and West Africa in June.”
Sources said India and Pakistan will be coordinating locust control operations along the border. An officer said India can facilitate supply of Malathion (pesticide) to Pakistan. Reports reveal that small swarms of desert locusts have already arrived from Pakistan, moving east into Rajasthan and reaching Jodhpur. According to Bloomberg, the Rajasthan government has made an emergency plan to deal with it. Preparations are being made to spray insecticides from drones in remote inaccessible areas for effective control measures.
Officials sources, according to The Hindu, said India and Pakistan had a regular mechanism, led by their ‘Locust Officers’, who hold six annual border meetings, between June and November.
“India is offering to energise another mechanism marshalled by the Locust Warning Organization, to coordinate a robust joint response by New Delhi, Islamabad and Tehran. Iran has welcomed India’s offer of pesticide to control desert locusts in its arid South Khorasan province, and Sistan-Balochistan province,” the report said.
Pakistan is yet to respond.