India has almost overcome any more major threat of locust attack this season. The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in its latest update this week noted that “the risk of swarm migration to the India-Pakistan summer breeding area has nearly subsided”.
Confirming it from the ground, Union agriculture ministry on Wednesday said no locust adults or hoppers were spotted in any of the affected areas since Tuesday.
“However, adequate manpower is on vigil for survey and control with sufficient vehicles and spray equipment in Rajasthan and Gujarat. Today (Wednesday), intensive survey operations are continued by locust circle offices (LCOs) to locate and eliminate the locust population, if any,” it said.
The FAO in its update on August 24 attributed the success of controlling the menace to India’s ongoing control efforts through deployment of hundreds of teams for this purpose on the ground. It also noted the efforts of Pakistan on its side. The UN body assists vulnerable countries in managing locusts through early warning and timely reaction.
“In south-west Asia, good progress is being made against the first generation of hopper groups and bands that have formed mainly in Rajasthan, India and to a lesser degree in Tharparkar district in southern Sindh, Pakistan,” said the FAO.
Referring to India’s efforts, the agriculture ministry shared that the locust control operations have, so far, been done in over 5 lakh hectares of area by LCOs and respective state governments in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Uttarakhand and Bihar since April 11.
Usually, the locust swarms enter India for summer breeding with the advent of monsoon. Its incursion this year, however, happened much earlier during March-April because of presence of residual population of locust in Pakistan which the neighbouring country couldn’t control during last season.