Locusts have proved to be nightmare for farmers in several states because of damages caused to the crops. Control operations have been carried out in more than 3.70 lakh hectares area of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Uttarakhand and Biharfrom 11th April to 19th July 2020.
Starting from 11th April 2020 till 19th July 2020, locust control operations have been done in 1,86,787hectares area in States of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana by Locust Circle Offices (LCOs). Till 19thJuly 2020, control operations have been done in 1,83,664 hectares area in States of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Uttarakhand and Bihar by State Governments.
In the intervening night of 19th-20th July, 2020, control operations were carried out at 31 places in 8 districts viz. Jaisalmer, Barmer, Jodhpur, Bikaner, Churu, Ajmer, Sikar and Pali of Rajasthan by LCOs.Besides this, Uttar Pradesh State Agriculture Department also carried out control operations at 1 place in Rampur district in the intervening night of 19th-20th July, 2020 against small groups and scattered population of locusts.
Presently 79 control teams with spray vehicles are deputed /deployed in States of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh and more than 200 Central Government personnel are engaged in locust control operations. Further, 5 companies with 15 drones are deployed at Barmer, Jaisalmer, Bikaner, Nagaur and Phalodi in Rajasthan for effective control of locusts on tall trees and in inaccessible areas through spraying of pesticides. Aerial spraying capacity has been strengthened for anti-locust operations with deployment of a Bell helicopter in Rajasthan for use in Scheduled Desert Area as per the need and Indian Air Force has also conducted trials in anti-locust operation by using Mi-17 helicopter.
No significant crop losses have been reported in the States of Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Bihar and Haryana. However, some minor crop losses have been reported in some districts of Rajasthan.
Today (20.07.2020), swarms of immature pink locusts and adult yellow locusts are active in districts of Jaisalmer, Barmer, Jodhpur, Bikaner, Churu, Ajmer, Sikar and Pali of Rajasthan and Rampur district of Uttar Pradesh.
Food and Agriculture Organization’s Locust Status Update of 13.07.2020 indicates that more swarms are likely to form in northern Somalia in coming weeks and that locust migration from northeast Somalia across the Indian Ocean to the summer breeding areas along both sides of the Indo-Pakistan border could be imminent.
Weekly virtual meeting on Desert Locust of South-West Asian countries (Afghanistan, India, Iran and Pakistan) is being organized by FAO. 15 virtual meetings of the technical officers of South West Asian countries have taken place so far.