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Việt Nam on high alert for locust swarms

Update: June, 04/2020 - 19:50

 

According to UN, a swarm of 40 million locusts can eat as much food as 35,000 people. — AFP/VNA Photo 

HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam plans to use military radar to detect destructive locust swarms potentially entering the country. 

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), a locust plague has swept into Pakistan and caused severe damage to local agriculture. In late May, swarms of locusts were reported in India’s northern and western regions, posing high risks of striking Bangladesh, Myanmar, Laos, China and Việt Nam.  

Once breaking out, the plague would present a direct threat to agriculture in Southeast Asian countries, especially Việt Nam. 

The tracking of locust swarms is essential to protect the country’s agriculture and food security, MARD said, so locust preparedness has been developed with three levels of warning. 

A far-distance warning will be issued when locust swarms start moving to India’s southern region and Bangladesh. In this case, the ministry will collaborate with the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) as well as neighbouring countries to exchange information and come up with swift preventative measures. 

MARD will also list recommended pesticides, mobilise spraying equipment to control and set up an information reporting system from people to responsible agencies. 

The ministry will work with the Ministry of National Defence to deploy radars to trace locust swarms. 

A close-distance alert would be put out if locusts are found in India and Bangladesh. 

Việt Nam will be at high risk if the plague is reported in Myanmar, Laos or China’s Yunnan Province, MARD said. At that time, a steering committee on locust prevention and control would be set up to deliver warnings and implement preventative measures.   

If locust swarms attack Việt Nam without entering those countries, direct controlling measures will be adopted in every locality. The ministry will report to the Prime Minister to allocate military to protect crops and kill locusts if the plague spreads widely. 

According to the FAO’s report issued on May 27, locust swarms were reported to form and move east to the Indo-Pakistan border ahead of the monsoon season. 

India has operated controlling measures as “at least one swarm had reached to the northeast of Bhopal”. 

“These movements will cease as swarms begin to breed and become less mobile. Swarms are less likely to reach south India, Nepal, and Bangladesh,” the report said. 

According to the UN, a swarm of 40 million locusts can eat as much food as 35,000 people. — VNS 

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