KATHMANDU, June 29: The government has said the swarms of locusts that entered Nepal on Saturday have not caused any big damage to the country’s crops.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development (MoALD) on Sunday stated that the size of swarms of locusts that entered several districts of Nepal is small and has caused barely any damage. Sahadev Humagain, coordinator of the government-formed taskforce, said, “We have received reports that the swarms have caused minimal damage because of the continuous rainfall.”
“It is not that they cannot cause harm but the environment of Nepal has kept them inactive,” he said adding that the country should however stay prepared if another swarm enters the country though the chances are still there. Locusts are said to be active from the morning and seek sunlight before devouring crops. However, with activated monsoon in Nepal they have remained inactive.
A task force formed by the ministry to study the probability of locust swarm’s entrance in Nepal had concluded that their migration to Nepal was unlikely. But within a month of the presentation of the report, the swarm was suddenly seen in Nepali territory. “Based on the wind direction and consultation with experts from countries like India and Pakistan, the task force had concluded that the migration of swarms into Nepal is unlikely,” he said adding that the sudden change in the wind direction had deviated a portion of locust swarms into Nepal.
According to the ministry, a huge swarm of locust is travelling from Rajasthan to Delhi and if it enters Nepal, it will be hard to control. “Though the swarm that has entered Nepal is not as threatening as the number is small, if the ones traveling to Delhi make their way to Nepal, we might be in trouble,” Humagain added. “The government is working to prepare for the control and management if locusts continue to enter Nepal.” Nepal will be exempted only if India successfully controls the movement of the locust swarms. The ministry has said that it has informed and asked provincial and federal bodies to deploy technical teams to collect detailed information and also implement necessary measures to get rid of it.
The ministry confirmed the entrance of locusts after the farmers of Bara, Parsa, Rupandehi and Sarlahi districts reported an upsurge in the number of the insects, possibly locusts, in their farmland. Swarms of locusts had entered districts like Bara, Parsa, Sindhuli, Sarlahi and Rupandehi, among others.