TN govt issues advisory to farmers on locust

Despite a ‘remote chance’ of a locust swarm attacking the State, Tamil Nadu government officials have planned a five-point strategy to handle the situation, should the menace touch its borders.

Asked about the possibility of the threat to Tamil Nadu, since locust swarms from Africa have crossed Rajasthan and have even touched some parts of Madhya Pradesh, a senior official said the chances were ‘bleak’.

The locust attack in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh have raised apprehensions of the locust swarms moving to Tamil Nadu in the coming days as they move along a downwind direction.

However,  quoting history and with the confirmation from Locust Warning Centre in Jodhpur, the State Agriculture department officials assure that there is no threat to Tamil Nadu.  However, to face any eventuality, in advance, the department has released an advisory on how to contain the locust menace.

As a precaution, the State government has issued an advisory explaining the methods to control the desert locusts. Spraying environmental friendly neem-based pesticides, mass ground spray of Malathion pesticides using tractor-mounted sprayers and fire engines and spraying bio-pesticide metarhizium anisopliae are some of the ways to eliminate this menace.  Besides, birds and poultry birds which eat this locust can also be used to control the locust swarms.

The state government allayed fears of locust attack in Tamil Nadu, saying there was very remote chance of locusts swarming farmlands in the state. The agriculture department, however, issued an advisory to control the pests.

Swarming of desert locusts in central and northern states has created fear among the farming community in the state.

Locusts have flown close to Panna in Madhya Pradesh this time around. This is mainly due to their population density, which is far higher than the previous instances, experts said.