Laxity let in locust swarms, says entomologist

The country appears to be dropping its battle in opposition to the desert locust swarms due to the fact of a leadership failure at the Locust Warning Organization (LWO), according to entomologist and retired chief of the Directorate of Plant Safety Quarantine and Storage, VK Yadav.

Yadav served in the Union Agriculture Ministry from 1979 to 2012 in a variety of positions. He rose from Deputy Locust Entomologist to Plant Safety Advisor to the Government of India and Head of the Department at Directorate of Plant Safety, Quarantine and Storage. The LWO experiences to the Directorate of Plant Safety, Quarantine and Storage.

Yadav explained to BusinessLine that the existing head of the Directorate of Plant Safety, Quarantine and Storage is a non-technological man or woman with no track record in entomology and agriculture sciences. The LWO is, hence, not performing optimally.

Complacency at LWO

As the country did not encounter any major locust assaults from 1993 to 2020, lots of locusts monitoring stations in Rajasthan and Gujarat were wound up. The stations at minimum could be revived quickly, as there is the probability of an additional locust assault in the in the vicinity of long term. The stations, specially on the border, need to be notify about the swarms crossing into India from Pakistan.

Yadav mentioned he had composed to the Union Agriculture Minister and Agriculture Secretary about the major lacunas in LWO.

He mentioned the LWO managed to command the locust swarms throughout his tenure at Jodhpur from 1983 to 1988 and locusts swarms were prevented from coming into cultivated parts in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Haryana and Punjab. It saved the crops and LWO’s attempts were appreciated by the Meals and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN.

‘Lax monitoring’

These days, locusts can not be managed from the ground it desires helicopters fitted with pesticide sprayers,

Due to deficiency of trained staff in LWO, swarms escaped to the cultivated space in 2019 and crops bought destroyed. This year also, the motion of swarms started off in Might and there was very little surveillance in the desert space because of to the Corona lockdown. It resulted in swarms spreading from Rajasthan to Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.

India has been struggling with important locusts assaults considering the fact that September, 2019 when the big swarms of the ravenous insects had arrived from Pakistan and had started off attacking the crops in the border district of Jaisalmer in Rajasthan. Again, in 2020, the locusts swarms attacked the crops in Gujarat and Rajasthan. Following that, there was a lull of about two months but the swarms of a great deal larger measurement all over again surfaced in Might. These days they arrived at deep into Northern and Central India with farmers even reporting assaults in places such as Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra.

BusinessLine arrived at out to the Union Agriculture Minister and Agriculture Secretary about the issues elevated by Yadav but there was no response from their places of work.

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