Attacks by Locusts Threatening Food Security and Livelihoods Globally
When the World is coming together to fight against coronavirus, some countries are struggling to combat locusts, attacking on their farm fields. Swarming locusts are advancing across Asia, East Africa, and the Middle East.
According to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), about 25 million hectares of cultivated areas are under threat in Caucasus and Central Asia (CCA) and at least 20 million people are at risk that also includes the most vulnerable rural populations. Many government bodies and scientists are in race to control the insects.
Locusts are decimating the entire harvests in the Pakistan's agricultural heartlands which is considered as worst plague in past three decades. Pakistani farmers are struggling to fight against the locust plague. In February 2020, Pakistan declared a national emergency to tackle the insects destroying crops on a very large scale.
As per Pakistan’s request, China said that it is ready to wipe out the insects. In February’s last week, Chinese delegation assessed the conditions of fields and China agreed to provide spraying equipment with 300 tons of pesticide. To use the equipment, Chinese technicians trained plant protection staff of Pakistan.
Pakistan has sprayed pesticides on its fields to control locust numbers. But by doing this new concerns raised as the chemicals used are leaving crops inedible so these crops need to be discarded. Because of these situations, food prices are surging. Pakistan's GDP has 20% account for agriculture. Experts states that this pest damages could reduce country’s economic growth by less than 2% in the fiscal year, that will end in June.
The desert locusts—that have reached plague proportions because of the heavy rainfall in last year and two cyclones five months apart in 2018—have already munched more than 170,000 ha of crops in East Africa alone.
As the cropping season begins, the contagion continues to present an exceptional threat to food security and livelihoods. This outbreak is considered as the worst that Kenya has experienced in past 70 years. It has also impacted other regions such as Somalia, Ethiopia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
It has been seen that the situation is very critical in East Africa than Pakistan. As airlines have grounded planes and almost all borders are closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, the deliveries of required pesticides and equipment are delayed. And that’s why African farmers are facing difficulties to combat the crisis.
The situation of the attacks remains same in India too. Recently, Locust damaged crops of wheat, cumin, fennel, castor, and mustard among others in area of 14,846 hectors located in Banaskantha and Patan districts in Gujarat State.
India’s central and state government have appointed 45 teams to battle against the locusts which started damaging in Rajasthan and spread across different regions. State government confirmed that these teams have already succeeded by destroying 25% locusts using pesticides. Plus, to support affected farmers, 9,012 farmers were paid ₹ 18.73 crore as compensation.
Neha writes articles on sectors including medicine, food, materials, and science & technology. A qualified statistician, she has the ability to observe and analyze the trends in global markets and write compelling articles that help CXOs in decision making. She is a bookworm and loves to read fiction, lifestyle, science and technology. Neha comes with 6 years of experience in content writing and editing that involves blog writing, preparation of study materials and OERs.