India, Pakistan join forces to fight locust menace: Report

India, Pakistan join forces to fight locust menace: Report

India and Pakistan have joined forces to fight a common enemy that affects farmers on both sides of the border - the desert locust.

Both the countries and their respective authorities are working under  a forum administered by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to fight the invasion of desert locusts that eat and destroy crops worth hundreds of crores every year.

India, Pakistan along with Iran and Afghanistan are members of FAO’s Commission for Controlling the Desert Locust in South-West Asia (SWAC). SWAC is one of the three regional commissions that work for locust early warning and prevention system.

As per a report by Dawn, one of Pakistan's English dailies, Pakistan's Foreign Office spokesperson Aisha Farooqui described the cooperation as “fruitful” in exchanging information in the bordering areas of Pakistan and India.

She said, as per the report, "We believe that the respective Technical Teams have been coordinating appropriately through FAO. Pakistan remains committed to cooperating with all SWAC member states, including India, in combating Desert Locust outbreak.”

The Desert Locust is one of about a dozen species of short-horned grasshoppers (Acridoidea) that are known to change their behaviour and form swarms of adults or bands of hoppers (wingless nymphs). The swarms that form can be dense and highly mobile.

The magnitude of the damage and loss caused by the locusts is very gigantic beyond imagination as they have caused starvation due to its being polyphagous feeder, and on an average small locust swarm eats as much food in one day as about 10 elephants, 25 camels or 2500 people. Locust cause damage by devouring the leaves, flowers, fruits, seeds, bark and growing points and also by breaking down trees because of their weight when they settle down in masses.

India alongwith Pakistan has been at the receiving end of desert locusts attack this year that has been described as the worst in 26 years by experts.

As per a report the attacks may continue to worry Indian farmers until July this year.

According to a recent report by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the locust swarm currently affecting parts of India, was responsible for crop infestation in 2,80,000 hectares across 13 countries prior to arrival in India.

It entered India through the western state of Rajasthan on May 13. Scientists predict that the crisis will increase as we enter the monsoon season.