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04 Feb 23 377 2 0

Locust Swarm Destroys Billions of Dollars of Food Each Year. Developing Countries Controlling This Major Problem with Drone Sprays.

Cool Story - Locust Swarm Destroys Billions of Dollars of Food Each Year. Developing Countries Controlling This Major Problem with Drone Sprays.

Locust Swarm has become a major crisis in many developing countries where billions of dollars of food is being destroyed each year causing food shortage and crisis in those regions. Please see below information from world bank. 
 

Q. What is a locust and why is it so damaging?

A. Locusts belong to a family of grasshoppers called Acrididae. The Desert Locust (Schistocerca gregaria), found in various parts of Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, is considered the most destructive migratory pest in the world because they are highly mobile and can form swarms containing millions of locusts, leading to devastating impacts on crops, pasture and fodder. A small swarm (1 km2) can be made up of 80 million locusts and can consume the same amount of food in one day as 35,000 people, while a large swarm can eat up to 1.8 million metric tons of green vegetation, equivalent to food enough to feed 81 million people. Locusts breed very fast and— a single female locust can lay egg pods containing anywhere from 80- 150 eggs.  Locusts do not attack people or animals.

 Q. Where is the current Locust outbreak?  

A.  Swarms of desert locusts are threatening large areas of pastures and crops, overwhelming countries in the Horn of Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says these swarms represent the worst infestation in 25 years in Ethiopia and Somalia, in 26 years in India, and the worst in 70 years in Kenya. The crisis has affected 23 countries to date, from Pakistan to Tanzania. This is a single global outbreak, and if it reaches plague levels, it could cover 20 percent of the earth’s land mass.

Q. Why is this outbreak so serious and could it get worse?

A. In the wider East Africa region, the above average rainy season in March and April created favorable conditions for locusts to breed – increasing their number and the areas they could spread to. If left unchecked, the number of desert locusts could grow by 400 times by June, as each generation has a 20-fold increase in population on average.

Within the region, 24 million people are food insecure and 8 million are internally displaced.  The locusts further threaten their food security and their ability to access pasture for livestock.  These impacts on the food cycle could drastically threaten livelihoods, erode people’s savings, and push people further into poverty. The cost of response during the last major locust outbreak in 2003-05 in West Africa, grew from $1 million in June 2003 to $100 million just 14 months later. Ultimately, it cost over $450 million to end the 2003-2005 plague, which caused an estimated $2.5 billion in crop damage.

Solution:

Many locals and also government authorities have teamed up to come up with a simple solution through which local swarms are being sprayed with small drones. The technology has proven to be very successful and is being adopted by local villagers in many countries such as India, Pakistan, and many countries in Africa. 

 

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