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Government Speed up Locust Control Operations But More Locust Swarms to Invade in June

Garsha Sai Nitesh
Garsha Sai Nitesh

Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare announced that the operations to control locust influx in many parts of the country has been started mainly to limit the damage this influx can cause for agriculture cultivation. 

“Amidst a wave of locust swarms at present sweeping mostly across westerns and northwestern India, Department of Agriculture and Farmers welfare has stepped up the locust control operations in Rajasthan, Punjab, Gujarat, and Madhya Pradesh which are affected badly,’ said Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare in a press release. 

Swarms of desert locusts invaded India via Pakistan where they flew into the country from Iran and now prevailed in five states. The Desert Locust is considered to be the most disastrous migrating pest in the world. They can eat crops up to their weight, a single square kilometre swarm can contain up to 80million locusts. As per eyewitnesses, the present swarm invaded is about two to three kilometres. 

At first, the swarm entered into Rajasthan then to Madhya Pradesh via Neemuch and move ahead to Ujjain and Dewas. The Locust Swarm also entered into Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, and Maharashtra, while Punjab put its farmers on alert. 

In Rajasthan, the locust attack has wiped out 5,00,000 hectares spread crops. In Western Rajasthan Bikaner, Sri Ganganagar and Barmer districts saw large groups of pink locusts that destroyed green fields laden with this year’s Rabi crops. In Jodhpur, Jahalawar, Bundi, and Karauli farmers have reported large invasion of locust swarms. 

Gujarat has been reporting locust attacks past five months, swarms of locust have infested several villages in Khambha, Lodiya, Savarkundla, and Botad of Amreli district. Gujarat government set up local control rooms in affected areas and providing vehicles, sprayers, medicines, and tankers for field staff. 

In Madya Pradesh Locust swarms infested in 52 out of the 60 districts. The government has advised the farmers to make noise in their farms to scare the swarms of locust away and trying to deal with this problem by spraying chemicals via fire brigade. 

Uttar Pradesh reported swarms in 17 districts, Jhansi’s Babina region faced the worst attack forcing people to stay indoors. This region has wheat cultivation and vegetable crops which has been reaped by the locusts. Eastern part of Maharashtra reported sighting of locusts, government officials have begun spraying chemicals on crops and vegetation.

On May 13, a big swarm of locust infested three villages in Fazilka, Punjab. Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) stated that fresh hopper groups will move into Punjab through the India-Pakistan border in coming months. 

According to the ministry till May 26, control operation against the swarms of locust in 47, 308 hectares have been done in 303 places in affected states Punjab, Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Madhya Pradesh by Locust Circle Offices (LCO) in coordination with District Administration and State Agriculture departments. 

The ministry further said, “89 fire brigades for spraying pesticides, 1 total of 120 survey vehicles, 47 control vehicles with spray equipment and 810 tractors mounted sprayers have been deployed for controlling the swarm attack on crops”. 

Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said the desert locust infestation is likely to increase at a higher rate in upcoming months from East Africa to India via Pakistan. At present, the locust invasion is most serious in African countries namely Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia. Some swarms infested into the southern part of Iran and some parts Pakistan. These swarms will invade India mostly in June. 

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