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Agriculture department claims Pakistan is the new breeding spot of locusts

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New Delhi, May 27: B R Kadwa, the deputy director of the agriculture department said that Pakistan has become a new breeding ground of desert locusts that are entering Rajasthan from adjoining areas in Pakistan.

Locusts

Speaking to a media organisation, Kadwa said, "Swarms of locusts are entering Rajasthan from adjoining areas in Pakistan every 2-3 days since a month. Pakistan has become the new breeding ground of the locusts and hence we are seeing the repeated attacks of locusts in the state."

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Kadwa further went on to say that fortunately, the Rabi crop has been harvested and Kharif sowing season is yet to arrive.

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    The desert locust is one of about a dozen species of short-horned grasshoppers.

    This swarm was originated in the Horn of Africa, where excess rains triggered a breeding boom. It is reportedly said that the swarm entering India now had another round of breeding in Baluchistan, Iran and Pakistan.

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    In April, a swarm of locusts entered Rajasthan from Pakistan and then drifted into other parts of western India. Currently, these locusts are active in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. According to Union Environment Ministry, Rajasthan is the worst-affected state.

    Adult desert locusts could fly up to 150 km a day with the wind and can consume roughly their own weight in fresh food per day. A single square kilometre swarm can eat as much food in a day as 35,000 people.

    These locusts feed on nearly all green vegetation such as leaves, flowers, bark, stems, fruit, and seeds. It also includes crops such as millet, rice, maize, sorghum, sugarcane, barley, cotton, fruit trees, date palm, pines and banana.

    The previous major infestation of locusts took place in 2003-2005 when more than 12 million hectares were treated in the west and northwest Africa, costing hundreds of millions of dollars, including food aid.

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