The Haryana government on Thursday said it has stepped up efforts to control locust swarms and prevent loss due to crop damage, amid warnings of potential attacks in several districts after July 22. It has also purchased three drones to be used for aerial spray of pesticides in affected areas.
Additional Chief Secretary, Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Department, Sanjeev Kaushal, said, “Arrangements were being made to stock additional quantities of pesticide Lamda Cyhalothrin 5 EC. The locust swarms in the region had become resistant to the commonly used pesticide Chorpyriphos. To prevent homogeneity in use of pesticides during repeated spraying, arrangements are being made to stock 20,000 litres of Lamda Cyhalothrin in addition to existing stocks of pesticide. The Haryana State Cooperative Supply and Marketing Federation Limited (HAFED) would stock an additional 10,000 litres of Lamda Cyhalothrin, Haryana Seed Development Corporation (HSDC) would stock 4,000 litres, and Haryana Land Reclamation and Development Corporation (HLRDC) would stock 6,000 litres. HAFED, HLRDC and HSDC already have approximately 48,000 litres of Chorpyriphos in stock, whereas HLRDC already has 5,000 litres of Lamda Cyhalothrin.”
“Besides three drones, as many as 66 fire brigade vehicles are available, as well as 3,540 tractor-mounted spray pumps shall be used for spray purposes. The state government will also acquire fogging machines being bought by the Centre from the United Kingdom (UK) for use on trees. Locust Warning Organisation has warned of more high-intensity attacks in districts Nuh, Rewari, Mahendragarh, Bhiwani, Charkhi Dadri after July 22, after large-scale locust breeding was observed in district Jhunjhunu in Rajasthan. These attacks are likely to be far more severe than the ones that have already occurred over 13,038 acres in districts Jhajjar, Charkhi Dadri, Palwal, Sirsa, Nuh, Rewari, Bhiwani and Narnaul between June 26 and July 16,” Kaushal added.
“The preparatory measures put in place by officials of the department had prevented significant losses in most districts during these attacks. Farmers in Jhajjar, Palwal and Nuh did not report any losses due to damage to crops by locust swarms. While farmers in most districts suffered losses to the tune of five to ten per cent, quick action by officials of the department ensured that those in worst-hit districts Rewari and Sirsa did not suffer losses of more than 30 per cent. At least 4,808 litres of pesticide was sprayed over 8,245 acres. Farmers also assisted department’s officials and banged utensils to drive away the insects,” Kaushal said.
He added, “No losses were reported in Jhajjar where teams sprayed 100 litres of pesticide over 170 acres, in Palwal where 421 litres were sprayed over 1,055 acres, and Nuh where 480 litres were sprayed over 1,000 acres in forest and hilly areas. Similarly, about 93-95 per cent of bajra and cotton crops were saved in Narnaul, where 543 litres of pesticide were sprayed over 125 acres. Farmers in Bhiwani reported losses of up to 10 per cent, with 1,072 litres of pesticides sprayed over 1,246 acres. Locusts had attacked cotton, bajra, jowar, sugarcane and fallow land in the district. Farmers in Charkhi Dadri reported losses of up to 15 per cent, where 551 litres were sprayed over 1,337 acres with cotton, bajra, fodder and sugarcane crops.”
“In Sirsa, where farmers reported up to 20 per cent damage to cotton and paddy, 600 litres of pesticide were sprayed over 1,250 acres. Similarly, in Rewari, 1,041 litres were sprayed over 2,062 acres, and up to 30 per cent loss was reported,” Kaushal said adding that “the department was closely monitoring the situation”.
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