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Indian farmers battle locust infestation amid COVID-19 crisis

The desert state of Rajasthan has been reeling under a locust attack for three months now and locusts have already wiped out more than 5,00,000 hectares of crops.

May 26, 2020 / 10:48 PM IST

Indian farmers are already suffering from supply chain distortions and consequent financial crunch due to the COVID-19 outbreak. On top of that, the agricultural community is staring at another plague at the moment – a desert locust infestation!

These pests, that migrate in large groups, eat any and all crops that come in their way, causing endless woes to farmers and affecting food supply.  A single swarm covering an area of one square kilometre can contain as many as 80 million locusts. One large swarm of locusts can consume crops as much as 35,000 people in a day. They breed rapidly and can cover up to 150 km daily.

A massive swarm of locusts entered India via Pakistan last month and have already wreaked havoc in five states. Onlookers have claimed the swarm was almost three kilometres long, reported the Diplomat. This poses an added food and economic security threat, especially in the arid and semi-arid regions, as the sowing period for kharif crops such as rice, maize, and pulses is due in June.