High Cost Locust Alert!

While India may be an attrac­tive low-cost out­sourc­ing des­ti­na­tion, it is also an attrac­tive des­ti­na­tion for locusts!

The UN’s Food and Agri­cul­tur­al Orga­ni­za­tion has warned of a locust threat in India and Pak­istan:

Recent heavy rain­fall in Pak­istan and west­ern India has cre­at­ed ‘unusu­al­ly favor­able breed­ing con­di­tions’ for locusts until Octo­ber along both sides of the Indo-Pak­istan bor­der and in coastal areas of west­ern Pak­istan, the Rome-based orga­ni­za­tion said today in an e-mailed press release.

This poten­tial­ly dan­ger­ous sit­u­a­tion should be close­ly mon­i­tored in both coun­tries, the FAO said.

Desert locusts, migra­to­ry grasshop­pers that often trav­el in vast swarms at speeds of up to 150 kilo­me­ters a day, can eat their own weight in food per day, accord­ing to the FAO. A small part of an aver­age swarm is capa­ble of eat­ing as much food a day as approx­i­mate­ly 2,500 peo­ple and can destroy vast amounts of farm land.

India and Pak­istan are orga­niz­ing field teams, equip­ment and resources to fight the swarms in the Indi­an states of Rajasthan and Gujarat as well as in adja­cent areas of the Cholis­tan and Tharparkar deserts in Pak­istan, the FAO said.

FAO desert spe­cial­ists reg­u­lar­ly train offi­cers of India’s Locust Warn­ing Orga­ni­za­tion in Rajasthan. The train­ing involves:

  • Esti­mat­ing locust num­bers
  • Using GPS to iden­ti­fy loca­tion and help con­trol oper­a­tions
  • Mark­ing infect­ed areas
  • Detect breed­ing areas

For a real world exam­ple of such a train­ing ses­sion, check this diary.

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