High Cost Locust Alert!

While India may be an attractive low-cost outsourcing destination, it is also an attractive destination for locusts!

The UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization has warned of a locust threat in India and Pakistan:

Recent heavy rainfall in Pakistan and western India has created ‘unusually favorable breeding conditions’ for locusts until October along both sides of the Indo-Pakistan border and in coastal areas of western Pakistan, the Rome-based organization said today in an e-mailed press release.

This potentially dangerous situation should be closely monitored in both countries, the FAO said.

Desert locusts, migratory grasshoppers that often travel in vast swarms at speeds of up to 150 kilometers a day, can eat their own weight in food per day, according to the FAO. A small part of an average swarm is capable of eating as much food a day as approximately 2,500 people and can destroy vast amounts of farm land.

India and Pakistan are organizing field teams, equipment and resources to fight the swarms in the Indian states of Rajasthan and Gujarat as well as in adjacent areas of the Cholistan and Tharparkar deserts in Pakistan, the FAO said.

FAO desert specialists regularly train officers of India’s Locust Warning Organization in Rajasthan. The training involves:

  • Estimating locust numbers
  • Using GPS to identify location and help control operations
  • Marking infected areas
  • Detect breeding areas

For a real world example of such a training session, check this diary.