FAO: India should remain on high alert against locust attack
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II and III – Role of International Organization; Science
- Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has warned India to remain on high alert against locust attack.
- India is facing the worst locust attack in 26 years.
FAO’s three categories of Desert Locust situations
- The FAO has three categories of Desert Locust situations: outbreak, upsurge, and plague.
- The current locust attack (2019-2020) has been categorised as an upsurge.
- Outbreaks are common, but only a few result in upsurges. Similarly, few upsurges lead to plagues.
- The last major plague was in 1987-89 and the last major upsurge was in 2003-05. Upsurges and plagues do not occur overnight; instead, they take many months to develop.
Do you know?
- When there are good rains and green vegetation develops, Desert Locusts – which are always present somewhere in the deserts between Mauritania and India – can rapidly increase in number and within a month or two, start to concentrate, gregarise.
- If left unchecked, they can lead to the formation of small groups or bands of wingless hoppers and small groups or swarms winged adults.
- Such a situation is called an ‘outbreak’, and usually occurs with an area of about 5,000 sq. km (100 km by 50 km) in one part of a country.
- Locust upsurge is more serious situation and generally affects an entire region.
- The most serious category, a ‘plague’ can develop when an upsurge is not controlled and ecological conditions remain favourable for breeding, locust populations continue to increase in number and size, and the majority of the infestations occur as bands and swarms.
- The area in which plagues occur covers about 29 million sq. km and can extend across 58 countries.
- There have been six major plagues in the 1900s, one of which lasted almost 13 years, the FAO website notes.