The country seems to be shedding its fight in opposition to the desert locust swarms because of a management failure at the Locust Warning Organization (LWO), in accordance to entomologist and retired main of the Directorate of Plant Defense Quarantine and Storage, VK Yadav.

Yadav served in the Union Agriculture Ministry from 1979 to 2012 in various positions. He rose from Deputy Locust Entomologist to Plant Defense Advisor to the Governing administration of India and Head of the Division at Directorate of Plant Defense, Quarantine and Storage. The LWO experiences to the Directorate of Plant Defense, Quarantine and Storage.

Yadav explained to BusinessLine that the latest head of the Directorate of Plant Defense, Quarantine and Storage is a non-technical particular person with no track record in entomology and agriculture sciences. The LWO is, hence, not functioning optimally.

Complacency at LWO

As the country did not facial area any major locust assaults from 1993 to 2020, numerous locusts monitoring stations in Rajasthan and Gujarat ended up wound up. The stations at least could be revived quickly, as there is the probability of another locust attack in the around upcoming. The stations, specially on the border, should be alert about the swarms crossing into India from Pakistan.

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

He claimed the LWO managed to management the locust swarms in the course of his tenure at Jodhpur from 1983 to 1988 and locusts swarms ended up prevented from entering cultivated areas in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Haryana and Punjab. It saved the crops and LWO’s initiatives ended up appreciated by the Foodstuff and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN.

‘Lax monitoring’

Right now, locusts are not able to be controlled from the floor it requirements helicopters fitted with pesticide sprayers,

Because of to absence of properly trained employees in LWO, swarms escaped to the cultivated space in 2019 and crops received destroyed. This yr also, the movement of swarms begun in May well and there was small surveillance in the desert space owing to the Corona lockdown. It resulted in swarms spreading from Rajasthan to Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.

India has been experiencing big locusts assaults given that September, 2019 when the massive swarms of the ravenous insects had arrived from Pakistan and had begun attacking the crops in the border district of Jaisalmer in Rajasthan. Once again, in 2020, the locusts swarms attacked the crops in Gujarat and Rajasthan. Just after that, there was a lull of about two months but the swarms of much greater dimensions yet again surfaced in May well. Right now they reached deep into Northern and Central India with farmers even reporting assaults in locations these types of as Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra.

BusinessLine reached out to the Union Agriculture Minister and Agriculture Secretary about the problems elevated by Yadav but there was no reaction from their offices.

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