Nepal | July 11, 2020

MoALD forms locust information centre

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The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development (MoALD) has formed a Locust Information Centre today under the coordination of Ram Krishna Subedi, director of the Plant Quarantine and Pesticide Management Centre.

The information centre will collect and disseminate information regarding locusts and their impact. Furthermore, it will track the movement of locusts and mobilise technicians to prevent the spread of the insects.

Likewise, it will be collecting data on the damages caused and work on spreading awareness among farmers.

The information centre will be working under the Plant Quarantine and Pesticide Management Centre from Tuesday, said MoALD Spokesperson Hari Bahadur KC.

“MoALD has also directed all the provincial governments to deploy their rapid response teams to study the situation and take immediate action,” he said, “Furthermore pesticide dealers have been asked to maintain optimum stock of pesticides if we need to use them in the coming days.” Moreover, local governments have also been directed to create awareness regarding locusts among farmers and inform them on how to prevent their crops from the insect, KC added.

A meeting held with the stakeholders today at MoALD has also decided to work with Crisis Management Centre of the Ministry of Home Affairs if the locusts have a huge impact in the country, he informed. “Although the insects seem to have low impact currently we have to be prepared for a big impact in the coming days for which we need a large team. Thus, we have requested the home ministry for the future response,” KC added.

The migration pattern of the locusts can be traced back to northern Africa. The swarm of insects has travelled via Sudan, Iran, Pakistan and then to Rajasthan and Delhi in India and now they are in Sindhuli, Bara, Parsa, Chitwan, Makawanpur and Sarlahi, among other districts in Nepal. Due to this spread stakeholders have been warning about a threat on food security in the country.

As per Food and Agriculture Organisation, an adult locust can consume roughly its own weight in fresh food per day that is about two grams every day. A one square kilometre swarm contains about 40 million locusts which eat the same amount of food in one day as about 35,000 people. This is based on a person eating an average of 2.3 kg of food per day.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on June 29, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.

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