Locust attack likely in Odisha, six other states in July: UN body

Bhubaneswar:  Odisha and six other states in the country might face locust attack in July amid the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, said the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on Saturday.

“Successive waves of spring-bred swarms from Iran and Pakistan will arrive in Rajasthan throughout June with additional swarms coming from East Africa to Gujarat and Rajasthan from early July onwards,” said a release issued by FAO.

The locusts are likely to settle in cropping areas or continue eastwards to Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and as far east as Bihar and Odisha, the UN body said, adding that those in central northern states will oscillate east and westwards before returning to Rajasthan with the onset of monsoon in early July.

Normally, with the arrival of the monsoon, locust swarms enter the desert areas of India via Pakistan for breeding in June-July, but this year pink adult swarms were reported as early as April 30 in Rajasthan and Punjab.

The United Nations had also warned earlier this month that armies of locusts swarming across continents pose a “severe risk” to India’s agriculture this year.

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