As locusts affect more states in India, the government has stepped up efforts to control the spread. Locust swarms entered India through Rajasthan on 11 April and have already affected Gujarat, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
About 21 districts in Rajasthan, 18 districts in Madhya Pradesh, 2 districts in Gujarat and 1 district in Punjab have undertaken locust control measuresso far, the Union Agriculture ministry said in a statement, according to PTI.
The government has placed an order to buy 60 spraying machines from UK-based company Micron, and two firms have been finalised for supply of drones for aerial spraying of insecticides for effective control over tall trees and inaccessible areas, it added, PTI reported.
The Times of India accessed an internal note of agriculture ministry which said 15 sprayers from UK will arrive in India by 11 June and 20 more by 25 June. The remaining sprayers will come by 9 July.
The ministry also said that 89 fire brigades for pesticide spray, 120 survey vehicles, 47 control vehicles with spray equipment and 810 tractor-mounted sprayers have been deployed for locust control, according to Hindustan Times.
The ministry said it has received permission from Civil Aviation Ministry for use of drones for locust control.
“Two firms have been finalised through tender for use of drones for spray of pesticides for locust control,” it added. Currently, the Locust Control Offices have 21 Micronair and 26 Ulvamast spray machines which are being used for locust control.
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UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in its update on Wednesday said that swarms...