Now, new challenge facing South Asia in form of locusts

WION Web Team New Delhi, India May 22, 2020, 02.45 PM(IST)

File photo of locust attack in Karachi Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

Thousands of acres of crops could be destroyed by locusts at a time when global economy is struggling to recover after the COVID-19 crisis.

In addition to the coronavirus pandemic, a new challenge is facing South and South West Asia regions this year in the form of desert locusts.

India has taken the initiative of developing regional cooperation in controlling desert locust that seems to be threatening agriculture in it along with Pakistan and Iran.

Also read: Amid COVID-19 outbreak, Pakistan government prepares to tackle locust crisis

As per reports of Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), in Iran, hopper bands of the locust are maturing along the southwestern coastal plains, and another generation of breeding is underway in the southeast where hatching is taking place on the coast and in the interior of sistan-Baluchistan.

In Pakistan, adult groups are migrating to the Indian border from breeding areas in Baluchistan where hopper groups are present. this is happening in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa regions of the country as well.

Also read: Desert locust invasion prevented after timely measures, change in wind directions

Meanwhile, in India, more adult groups and small swarms have arrived from Pakistan in the past weeks and moved east into Rajasthan.

The Government of India is leading the efforts in locust control in the country. It has also spearheading initiatives to foster regional cooperation. 

India has suggested to pakistan that both Pakistan and Iran coordinate locust control operation along the border and that India can facilitate supply of pesticide malathion to Pakistan. 

India has also offered to supply pesticide to Iran to carry out desert locust control operations in its sistan-Balochistan and South Khorasan provinces. 

These efforts will contribute to mitigate the effect of the desert locust not only in these countries, but also for India. 

Iran has already responded positively to India's offer. However, it still unclear whether Pakistan will agree to a coordinated approach of dealing with the desert locust crisis

There is consensus that the desert locust could pose a grave challenge in 2020. Thousands of acres of crops could be destroyed by locusts and at a time when global economy is struggling to recover after the COVID-19 crisis, this is the last problem that the region needs to deal with.