UP govt readies itself for locust swarms, issues advisory to farmers

Even as sugarcane crushing is in full swing in Uttar Pradesh, the Adityanath government has issued an advisory to farmers against locust (grasshopper), which have wrecked havoc in neighbouring Pakistan and caused concern in Western Indian states of Gujarat and Rajasthan.

Taking a proactive stance in the backdrop of recent news about locust outbreak in some states, UP cane and sugar commissioner Sanjay R Bhoosreddy has instructed departmental officers and scientists of state Sugarcane Research Centers to conduct awareness campaign among farmers to protect sugarcane crop from such pests.

“Although our advisory is targetted at the cane farmers, locust damage all types of agricultural crops, therefore preemptive measures hold true for all the crops,” he told Business Standard on Saturday.

He has issued directives for close monitoring on the possibility of locust menace and to warn farmers on priority through awareness drives. “By adopting the principle of ‘prevention is better than cure’, necessary protective measures can be taken in time to protect the sugarcane crop.”

The regional and district officers have been allocated targets based on the area to keep watch regularly and to visit the villages regularly to make the farmers aware and take adequate precautions to thwart the possible attack of locust.

Besides, instructions have also been given to distribute pamphlets, handbills and publish pest prevention measures in daily newspapers, display pest prevention measures on the walls of all offices and warehouses and to convey such information to farmers, the advisory said.

The farmers have been advised to spray sugarcane crop with insecticides, including chlorpyrifos, chlorpyrifos bundiomethrin, fipronil and Lambda if locust is seen in their fields. Since, the grasshopper activity increases in less water, drought and summer conditions, special caution is required during summer.

According to Bhooseddy, grasshopper attack in large numbers and eat green leaves of all vegetative plants quickly and in humongous quantity. Locusts breed and grow in winter, from November to December, in spring, from January to June and in summer, from July to October.

Since, locust menace have been reported in the border areas of UP, so to avoid locust outbreaks, it is necessary to constantly survey and monitor the situation, so that it does not spread in the  state, he noted.

To ensure immediate measures for its prevention, the state cane farmers have been asked to inform the concerned institutions of the central government as also the UP cane development immediately.

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