Locusts in Africa and Asia. Famine is becoming real

Locusts in Africa and Asia. Famine is becoming real


Locusts in Africa and Asia. Famine is becoming real


Locusts have a large appetite, each of them needs up to 2 g of food per day, which is as much as it weighs. That is why crop losses are so severe.
East Africa, part of the Middle East, and South Asia are struggling with desert locusts. Billions of insects eat plants, preferably in the vegetation phase, also those growing in arable fields. Locusts in biblical quantities have not been seen in Kenya for 60 years, in Pakistan for three decades, in Congo appeared for the first time after a 75-year break. The voracity of insects will result in lower harvests. The UN warns against the risk of famine that only in the Horn of Africa can affect 25 million people.

Locusts in Africa and Asia. Famine is becoming real


Locusts or trouble not only with food


The caring out of the desert locust is responsible for the same periodic weather anomaly that has contributed to recent fires in Australia . The so-called. the dipole in the Indian Ocean caused drought in Oceania, and the areas on the opposite side brought heavy rain. Last year's cyclones caused local floods on the extremely dry Arabian Peninsula and ephemeral lakes formed between the dunes. Moisture in the deserts of Arabia, Sudan and Iran was a signal to the locust that it was time to change the way of life from loneliness to herd, begin to reproduce intensively and jointly take advantage of such a rare opportunity, when after rains lush green pastures and fields in the northern strip Tanzania to West India.

Locusts in Africa and Asia. Famine is becoming real


Locusts have a large appetite, each needs up to 2 g of food per day, which is as much as it weighs. Therefore, crop losses are serious. One swarm of tens of millions of individuals can extend over 20 sq. Km. That's enough to locally obscure sunlight as it does, for example, dark storm clouds. And there are many swarms. They travel up to 150 km a day with the wind, eat and lay eggs. New generations are hatching and so it will continue until the next dry period when the amount of readily available greens will drastically decrease.

Locusts in Africa and Asia. Famine is becoming real


The trouble is that most locusts appear in places that face daily food shortages: in Kenya, Ethiopia, and Eritrea. Or even hunger, as in South Sudan. In addition, the appearance of insects coincided with the time of sowing, planting, and waiting for the June harvest. The situation may be more serious when locusts from eggs laid in the past weeks and months will soon grow. Summer and autumn harvests will be in question and there will be a problem with the material for subsequent sowing. The plague will also affect Pakistani cotton, the harvest of which will soon begin. Those in the south of the country may turn out to be at least half as usual.

Locusts in Africa and Asia. Famine is becoming real


Farmers try to scare away insects on their own
Spraying is an effective way to control locusts. The problem is that the countries affected by the disaster do not have sufficient resources. Airplanes, pesticides, and a monitoring system are needed to efficiently carry out this operation, which would make it possible to predict in which direction the locusts will move. In computer models, variables such as wind direction, soil humidity, and temperature are taken into account, places with high humidity and temperature in the range of 30-40 degrees C are sought, i.e. the conditions in which locusts reproduce.

Specialists are also needed to indicate when and where to spray because this is different at different stages of the locust life cycle. Another problem: pastures and fields spoiled by food can be dangerous to people and the plants treated with them may not be suitable for food. By the way, a lot of other organisms die, including insects helpful to farmers who deal with pollination.



However, you need to act. Otherwise, according to FAO (United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization) experts, there may be 20 to 400 times more locusts in the coming weeks and months of locust. Hence the efforts to eliminate as many of them as possible as soon as possible. According to specialists, it is worth doing it in advance, because providing food to victims costs 15 times more than exterminating insects.

Locusts in Africa and Asia. Famine is becoming real


For now, FAO calls for only USD 134 million to be transferred to the countries of the Horn of Africa region. Less than 90 million have already been collected: 22 have been given by Germany, 18 are from USAID, an American aid fund, 11 will be from the European Union, etc. Where specialist assistance is not received (e.g. spraying by soldiers on foot), farmers and their loved ones try to scare away insects on their own. They are forced to move, among others sharp sounds, even pounding in pots. Desperate people try to chase away the locusts by waving cloth sheets or poles, but the effectiveness of these methods is not high.

Could people eat locusts?


The search for unconventional methods raises questions as to whether people could eat locusts. Yes, similar animals are eaten in many places around the world, but not in this region of Africa. There is no such tradition and it is not expected to be adopted this time. Another unconventional and untapped idea - newspapers in China reported about it - was sending 100,000 to Pakistan. ducks. Two decades ago, they helped deal with locusts in one of the West China provinces.

Hence the concept to use them again, this time abroad. They cited minimal environmental damage and great utility of ducks: one eats up to 200 individuals a day, almost three times more than chickens. In addition, compared to chicken, ducks like to feed in large flocks and can be grazed, they are easier to control. Nothing but rush through the fields and pastures where grasshoppers have landed. The initiative was not implemented, it crashed, among others that ducks need constant access to water to cultivate their plumage and survive in good health. However, access to water in Pakistan is difficult. Unfortunately, no other natural or non-toxic enemies of locust can be seen on the horizon.

Africa is feeling the effects of climate change


Probably, along with accelerated climate change, locusts in Africa and Asia will appear regularly and in large quantities. These suspicions come from observations, among others dipole conservation in the Indian Ocean. Climate change has strengthened its effect, which is why it was dry and hot in Australia, and four times more rain than usual in the Horn of Africa last October to December last year. Rain-bearing cyclones will be more common in the region.

This is one of many examples of a certain paradox: the inhabitants of Africa have contributed to historical emissions to a very small extent, especially industrial ones, but they are experiencing the effects of human climate dysregulation. Even rainfall though awaited in overdried regions puts entire communities in serious trouble. Especially since the inhabitants lack resources to quickly regenerate. Stuffed e.g. with natural disasters.

Post a Comment

0 Comments