With swarms of locusts damaging crops in neighbouring Maharashtra, Telangana state agricultural officials have now sounded an alert. According to them, the locusts have already reached around Nagpur and Amravati of Maharashtra, which share borders with Telangana.
Top officials of the Telangana Agriculture Department, and Director of Research at the Professor Jayashankar Telangana State Agricultural University (PJTSAU), were informed by officials of Central Integrated Pest Management Centres (CIPMC), and Amravati district agriculture officers, about the possible movement of locusts to Telangana.
The District Agricultural Officers of seven northern Telangana districts – Adilabad, Nirmal, Komurambhim- Asifabad and Mancherial, Nizamabad, Kamareddy and Jayshankar Bhupalapally – were asked to prepare in order to prevent damage that may occur due to infestation. A 'most important' communication has been sent to district authorities to report any occurrence of locust infestation immediately.
Mohan Reddy, Deputy Director Agriculture (DDA) of Plant Protection said, “As per our information, in some villages in Amravati of Maharashtra, officials are trying to control them from damaging the crops. However the swarms may move in the direction of the wind, which is towards Chhattisgarh. While on their way to Chattisgarh, these seven districts may be affected. Presently, crops like mango, guava, vegetables and bananas may get damaged if they come.”
A locust is a large, mainly tropical grasshopper, with strong powers of flight, and it migrates in vast swarms. Desert Locusts (Midatalu) are species that damage crops and green vegetation for fodder. The desert locust is said to be the most destructive migratory pest in the world and a single swarm covering one square kilometre can contain up to 80 million locusts.
Telangana State Agriculture Department Commissioner B Janardhan Reddy has issued directions to concerned District Collectors and Agriculture, Horticulture officers.
“All the concerned officials have been instructed to be vigilant about the possible locust infestation. Required pesticides and chemicals have also been kept ready for spraying. Fire engines will also be used,” Mohan Reddy said.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra officials and farmers are trying to control the locusts using different containment measures like using pesticides.