Another huge locust invasion apprehended


Kathmandu, July 1

The Locusts Information Centre has warned that a large swarm of locusts is likely to enter Nepal from India over the next couple of days.

According to the centre, the swarm of locusts is headed towards Darjeeling from Bhagalpur and Motihari in Bihar. As the swarm is likely to enter Nepal from there, the centre has issued a notice directing the authorities concerned to be on high alert.

“The swarm with about two million locusts might affect Tarai and lower hilly regions of the country. If it enters the country and doesn’t split up, it will be difficult for us to control it,” said Ram Krishna Subedi, coordinator of the centre.

Although the federal government has fewer resources to deal with locust invasion, provincial governments claim that they are prepared and have enough resources to deal with the pests, he said.

He added that since the wind direction had not changed yet, the risk of invasion was on. “We have alerted the authorities concerned in high risk areas to keep themselves abreast of the locust movement and generate awareness among the people,” he said, adding that Agriculture Knowledge Centre and local governments were working in tandem.

According to the centre, around 24 smaller groups of locusts have been found in the country so far. In the past four days, more than three million locusts have invaded Nepal from India and have fanned out to more than 30 districts. Even though locusts have affected less crops so far, the centre has requested stakeholders to do their best to control the pests.

According to the centre, locusts have affected maize, vegetables, paddy and banana farms in several districts. However, the capital has not suffered major damage. Around two lakh locusts had invaded Kathmandu but moved on to other areas this morning without inflicting major damage, added Subedi.

On June 27, locusts were sighted in Bara and Parsa. Prior to that, locusts were seen in Nepal in 1962. Back then, the swarm had invaded crops in Kathmandu, Nuwakot, Dhading and a few other districts, inflicting much damage to crops.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on July 2, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.

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