Monday, 29 November, 2021

Locusts invade five Terai districts


By Laxman Kafle

Kathmandu, June 28: Locusts, short-horned grasshoppers, have entered Nepal Saturday morning creating widespread fear among the public about crop damage and its consequences on food security.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development has confirmed that swarms of locusts had entered Nepal from India today morning, said Dr. Hari Bahadur KC, spokesman at the ministry.
However, there was no confirmation about the mass of locusts that entered the country.
The ministry of MoALD called an emergency online meeting today after the locusts entered five districts of Nepal including Bara and Parsa, he informed.
The meeting had been called to dwell on how to minimise the possible damage to be caused by insects, he said.
Locusts have been seen in various parts of Rupandehi, Sarlahi and Sindhuli districts as well.
Locusts are a swarm of certain species of short-horned grasshoppers that damage crops such as wheat, maize, and mustard, among others.
​​He said that the locusts entered Nepal today despite the minimum chances of their entry here as the wind blew northward from West Bengal.
Sudden change in the way the wind blows has been attributed to entry of locusts in Nepal, he said, adding that it was very unusual for the wind to blow from South to North during this season. But it was happened so and the locusts entered Nepal, he said.
As per the preliminary study, the group of locusts are small which are seen in various places of the five districts.
“We were continuously coordinating with the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology about the chances of entry of locusts in Nepal. With the coordination of the State and local governments, technical teams have been mobilised to conduct research and keep the damage to the minimum,” KC told The Rising Nepal.
He said that farmers should beat utensils to drive away locusts in addition to using chemical sprays.
Locusts can be scared away by producing noise by beating drums and utensils. 
The ministry has urged the State and local governments and Agriculture Knowledge Centres to pay attention to the management of locusts and reduce the damage.
“Farmers should protect the paddy sprouts by using net as locusts can damage the sprouts during the plantation season,” he said.
Earlier, a task force formed to prevent possible impact of locusts on the agriculture sector had prepared a report.
The report said that there was no need to worry about the entry of locusts in Nepal this year.