Indian authorities help farmers to fight desert locusts; drones used

WION Web Team New Delhi May 27, 2020, 03.32 PM(IST)

While locusts had entered into India in April itself, some areas are seeing their worst attack in decades, including Jaipur and parts of MP. Photograph:( Twitter )

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As many as 700 tractors, 75 fire engines and almost 50 other vehicles are engaged in spraying pesticides to kill the locusts, which have already devastated crops across Pakistan and East Africa.


Indian authorities are helping farmers mount a pesticide spraying campaign to fight the swarms of desert locusts, according to a report. 

As many as 700 tractors, 75 fire engines and almost 50 other vehicles are engaged in spraying pesticides to kill the locusts, which have already devastated crops across Pakistan and East Africa.

Drones will also be employed.

"At this point it's manageable, but if it continues it will be a problem" for monsoon-sown crops, said Mohapatra, who's also the top bureaucrat at the department of agricultural research and education. The impact will be lessened by the current spraying campaign and the fact that the harvest of the winter crop is mostly over, Trilochan Mohapatra, director general of the state-run Indian Council of Agricultural Research in New Delhi said on Tuesday. 

About 42,000 hectares (104,000 acres) of cotton, summer pulses and vegetable crops have been affected by locusts across six states, mainly in Rajasthan, he said. 

Farmers grow rice, pulses, cotton, sugar cane and soybeans on over 106 million hectares in the monsoon season, according to the farm ministry.

In January, the biggest locust swarm to hit Gujarat in over a quarter of a century resulted in more than 25,000 hectares of wheat, rapeseed, cumin and potatoes being attacked, with at least a third of the crops damaged in 75% of the affected areas, according to the state's directorate of agriculture.

Overall, growth in agriculture sector will likely be positive in the fiscal year that began on April 1, said Ashok Gulati, a professor at the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations in New Delhi. "It will have some impact on horticulture crops, but not much," he said.

India's massive locust attack 2019-20 saw about 403,488 hectares treated with pesticides, according to the farm ministry.

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