There have been reports of massive locust swarms assaulting East African and destroying crops in a plague of Biblical proportions. But it is not just Africa, for now India and Pakistan, two neighbors who hate each other, are working together to fight locust swarms that have descended upon their nations as the plague goes globally.
India has reached out to Pakistan to counter a locust invasion which threatens to destroy crops and undermine food security in south and southwest Asia — a region where the COVID-19 pandemic has already disrupted farming.
An official source who did not wish to be named said India had proposed a trilateral response in partnership with Pakistan and Iran to combat the desert locust wave sweeping across the Afro-Asian region.
“India has suggested to Pakistan that both countries coordinate locust control operations along the border, and that India can facilitate supply of Malathion, a pesticide, to Pakistan,” the official said.
Desert locusts pose a major threat to food security in the region, including India. A typical locust swarm, which can vary from less than one square kilometre to several hundred square kilometres, can devastate farmlands. A one square kilometre swarm, containing about 40 million locusts, can in a day eat as much food as 35,000 people, assuming that each individual consumes 2.3 kg of food per day, says the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). In India, small swarms of desert locusts, in the past weeks, have already arrived from Pakistan, moving east into Rajasthan, and reaching Jodhpur.
“We are preparing for a worst-case scenario. Starting from the Horn of Africa, and joined by desert locusts from breeding grounds en route, one locust stream can travel over a land corridor passing over Yemen, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and India, impacting farmlands in Punjab, Haryana and the Indo-Gangetic plain. But another stream passing over the Indian Ocean can directly attack farms in peninsular India, and then head towards Bangladesh,” another official had earlier told The Hindu. (source)
Locusts are amazing things, but they are a complete terror to any garden. Their ability to devour plants is simply fascinating to watch.
But it is not a joke. Locusts feed themselves on the food which humans use to eat, and food shortages can lead to starvation as well as migration crises because people will seek to go where the food is.
Could we be seeing the possibility for a migration crisis from India and Pakistan, possibly to Europe, in the name of refugees seeking food to eat? We do not know, but the fact is that starvation leads to migration as a historical reality, and this plague is another global event that must be watched because if it gets worse it may have tremendous effects on patterns of migration.