India fight these days its worst plague of locusts in nearly three decades, swarms of tens of millions of insects destroying crops in the northern regions of its territory.
The indian authorities are using drones, tractors and cars to monitor these insects and the spraying of pesticides. They have already ravaged nearly 50 000 hectares of crops since their arrival in April in the State of Rajasthan (west), from Pakistan.
“Eight to ten swarms, each measuring approximately one square kilometre, are active in pockets of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh,” said Tuesday to AFP K L gurjar settlements, the deputy director of the Locust Warning Organization (ABILITY), a department of the indian ministry of Agriculture.
Other, smaller, are also at work in the States of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh and threatening to many summer crops and plantations, worsening the situation of farmers already weakened by the confinement national decreed against the pandemic COVID-19.
A large swarm flew down on Tuesday to residential areas of Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan, forcing some of the inhabitants struck to make a noise by banging utensils to prevent the locusts stuck to trees and houses.
The locusts destroy almost every year of crops in Rajasthan near the pakistani border, but it is rare that they progress to the interior of the State, according to the ABILITY.
India had not known of the plague of locusts on this scale since 1993. A native of East Africa, this invasion has been favoured by unusual rainfall over the period march-may.
“This year, the locusts are breeding 400 times more than usual because of the favourable climatic conditions created by unusual rainfall and tropical cyclone activity increased,” said Devinder Sharma, an analyst, a specialist in agricultural issues.
“The locusts make the destruction worse than a drought, not only the crops are destroyed, but the trees break under the weight” of the swarm, he explained.
A desert locust eats each day roughly its own weight in food-about two grams, according to the observatory of the acridines of the united Nations. A swarm of one square kilometre contains about 40 million locusts, which eat in a day as much food as 35 000 people.