The COVID-19 pandemic had shaken the world when another major problem, arisen in the Indian Subcontinent. A vast army of locust had invaded the country amid the crisis, doubling the burden of the farmers.
This is considered as the worst locust attack in the country in the last 26 years. As if the quarantine wasn’t calamitous, which hurdles the supply of food now these tiny beasts are back again to destroy the root cause of the food source. The farmers living in the parts of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab, and Uttar Pradesh have been facing the threat since last winter.
How Harmful Are These Locusts?
The tiny creature might be harmless but the damage it does to the crops can only be understood better by a farmer. They feed on all types of crops and in swarms they are undetectable almost. Their production rate is unmatched and they grow rapidly. With a 90 days lifetime, a single female locust can lay eggs thrice a day. The numbers are pretty high, in millions for an sq. km. of land.
A small swarm of locusts can eat the same quantity of food that would be eaten by 35,000 peoples. Aren’t the numbers concerning? Imagine what a large swarm of locust can do. They have this decent speed which helps them sweep more grounds with ease.
How much loss the farmers have suffered?
In total 50,000 hectares have been affected.
In February the subsidiary body of the United Nations, the Food and Agriculture Organization had already warned about the crisis that would happen because of locusts. The major population of the locust is the result of band formation and hatching in Souther Iran and southwest Pakistan.
This year the patterns of the locust attacks are a bit unusual as they tend to leave by the end of November but this time they have stayed till February.
While the economy is already shattered by the current lockdown, these locust attacks are lowering the number further by affecting the agricultural economy which is critical for a country like India where 50% of the workers are in the agricultural sector.
Eastern Africa also hit by the locust attack.
Africa is also hit by the locust attack amidst the pandemic. The eastern regions mainly Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia are the worst affected regions. They have been attacked a new large group of locusts which reportedly has numbers in billions. Experts are blaming climate change as the reason.