India battles locust infestation that could destroy enough food to feed 35,000 people—every day

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Credit: PTI

Massive swarms of desert locusts are destroying crops across western and central India, spearing into Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab now, after Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana, as the government said it has stepped up its response to the country’s worst locust attack in nearly three decades.

Locust containment measures and sprinkling operations have been conducted in 303 locations spread over more than 47,000 hectares …. in 20 districts of Rajasthan, nine in Madhya Pradesh, two in Gujarat and one each in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, sources in the Agriculture Ministry said.

According to the UN body Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the locusts attack pose a threat to food security of the affected countries as an adult locust can eat a quantity equal to its weight of about 2 grams every single day.

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A single square kilometer of the swarm can contain somewhere between 4 to 8 crore adult locusts. Every single day, if they cover 130-150 km, they can eat the food consumed by as many as 35,000 people, it said.

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