Odisha Government Wary Of Possible Locust Invasion
Parts of India are experiencing the harshest locust invasion the country has seen in over two decades. Rajasthan has been the worst affected state so far, followed by Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, and Uttar Pradesh.
As the movement of these locusts has now shifted towards the eastern part of the country, the Odisha government has alerted farmers regarding a possible invasion. The state has issued precautionary orders to all the regions that could be affected by this invasion.
Agriculture Minister Arun Kumar Sahoo, stressing that there is no reason to panic, said “the state government, as well as the Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT), have already issued an advisory for dealing with any locust invasion. Necessary measures were being taken to create awareness among the farmers, while the movement of swarms of locusts will be closely monitored at district and block levels.”
Sources indicate that the migratory pests are likely to enter west Odisha through Sundergarh, Bargarh, Kalahandi, and Bolangir and cause damage to vegetable plantations and trees.
“The state government is prepared to deal with any situation of disaster though Odisha has not encountered any locust attack in recent years”, added Sahoo.
The most effective way to tackle locusts is by spraying 200 litres of a solution of 5% neem seed kernel per acre of land or to prepare a solution by adding 300PPM neem insecticide in 200 litres of water and spray it on the crop. These solutions will prevent locust attack to a great extent, said Sahoo.
The OUAT, in its advisory to farmers, has directed them to follow the neem-based treatment. The advisory additionally stated that farmers could beat tin cans or wield branches full of thorns to avoid the locust attack.
The agriculture ministry is hoping to control the invasion before monsoon season hits north India as that is when locusts mature and breed. If the infestation is not controlled by then, it may threaten summer crops such as rice, maize, and sorghum.