Sharing borders with neighbouring Pakistan, Gujarat is under attack from hoppers — new-born locusts (locally known as tiddis)— that have flown in across the international border. As the swarms mature, they have ravaged farms in North Gujarat, devastating farmers in the three border districts Banaskantha, Patan and Kutch.

Why it is difficult to deal with locusts?

Gujarat has not witnessed such an invasion of locusts since 1993-94. Among the four districts, Banaskantha is the worst affected. The insects fly in during the day and settle on the farms at night making it difficult to ward off the swarms. The farmers under seige are hiring workers and using age old techniques like beating drums and vessels to scare the locusts away without much success.

Route followed by Locusts

Originally, the locusts emerged in February this year from Sudan and Eritrea on Africa’s Red Sea Coast and travelled through Saudi Arabia and Iran to enter Pakistan, where they invaded the Sindh province and from there they moved into Rajasthan and Gujarat.

Response of administration

The government has now assured farmers that the administration will carry out a survey to assess the damages and will accordingly compensate farmers. However, farmers feel that the government’s efforts and assurance are too little and too late.

Source: The Hindu

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