Good news for farmers who are busy sowing their Rabi crops as India is currently free from the presence of swarms of locusts.
During the routine survey conducted during the last fortnight of October by the Locust Warning Organization-Jodhpur which is under the Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, the country was found free from locust activities. Breeding of such grasshoppers too was not reported.
A total of 175 spots, mostly in Rajasthan and Gujarat, were covered while conducting the field surveys.
“As a result of the withdrawal of monsoon in Scheduled Desert Areas, the soil moisture and vegetation now tend to be drying in the breeding zones. Moreover, no locust was seen during the survey,” the latest Desert Locust Situation Bulletin by the locust warning authority said.
The bulletin also said any locust activity is not expected upto the next fortnight. Besides India, the situation is currently calm in Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.
Locust menace in 2020
For the record, the locust menace was at its worst in Pakistan in early 2020, when the country declared the menace a national emergency.
At the same time, India too witnessed a large-scale locust incursion in several Indian states such as Rajasthan, Gujarat, some parts of Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and Maharashtra. Swarms of locusts were first spotted in India in early April, in the districts of Rajasthan bordering Pakistan.
The swarms of locusts had damaged and destroyed a large portion of crop area but were limited mainly to Rajasthan.
Locusts are voracious in nature and are known for their vegetation-destroying abilities and their large-scale presence may pose a potential threat to food security.