Question: Pest epidemics and attacks threaten global food security in times of increasing population rate. What are the reasons for increasing pest attacks such as Locust swarms? Highlight measures to tackle the problem.
Answer: In recent times global population is under attack from locust swarms that are capable of destroying food crops that can feed millions of people. Such threats have capacity to create artificial hunger and threaten global food security.
Reasons for increasing attacks of pests
- Climate change
Weird it may seem but the major reason for increasing locust attacks and other pest attack has been changing climatic conditions that have allowed the pests to prosper. Incessant rainfall during their breeding period allowed them to grow and spread to new places from their base in horn of Africa.
- Agricultural practices
The global agricultural practices have undergone changes due to economic reasons that now are very vulnerable to pest attacks. Practice such as monocropping, where a single crop is grown year after year provides the perfect condition for pests to affect and spread easily.
- Excessive use of artificial inhibitor
Inhibitors such as pesticides also kill those organisms that are natural predators of pests. Due to absence of natural predators, the pests will begin to grow and expand drastically.
- Genetic immunity
Use of prevention methods such as pesticides and genetically modified plants to reduce pests succeeded upto certain extent but they also created a population that was genetically immune to such inhibitors. These further expanded to create an immune population of pests that no longer fear pesticides.
Measures to reduce pests
- Creating artificial sterility
This measure has been practiced in countries such as China where genetically modified pests who are incapable of producing fertile offsprings are released into the wild and allowed to mingle freely. They will reproduce with normal variety but will not create new offsprings thereby reducing their population.
- Using natural predators
Natural predators of pests must be allowed to feed freely on the pests so that their population will be reduced naturally without using any pesticides. The predators can be in form of ducks, frogs or other birds that feed on the pests.
Thus, our preparation must be upto the mark when it comes to protecting against pests that may affect agriculture. Failure will spell doom for large number of population due to hunger.