WhatsApp groups to keep farmers alert over locust threat

The district Agriculture Department has been organising mock drills and keeping farmers updated on the current location and chances of locust attack in various areas.

The department is on alert and has formed various WhatsApp groups. Around 250 progressive farmers from the district are a part of these groups. These groups keep farmers updated about the latest agriculture techniques and locust attacks.

Chief Agriculture Officer Dr Surinder Singh said another group would also be formed. “Several progressive farmers have been added in the group, who will further provide the information to other farmers to make them aware of the situation. Otherwise also, we are constantly tracking the speed and direction of wind and location of locusts to know where they can go,” the officer said.

He said all arrangements were in place to tackle any kind of untoward incident. As per the information, the highly prone areas in Jalandhar were Shahkot, Mehatpur and Lohian, but farmers in the entire district should remain cautious.

“At present, the locusts have attacked Sirsa in Haryana, Moga and Faridkot in Punjab, which are close to the Lohian area of Jalandhar. So, the threat of locust attack here also looms large,” the Chief Agriculture Officer said.

Recently, mock drills were also organised for which the department formed various teams of experts who made the farmers aware of harmful insects and their impact on the crop. The teams asked the farmers to be aware and inform the district administration in case they saw the swarms.

As per the experts, this insect often flies in swarms and given the favourable circumstances, it can even travel up to 80 to 200 km.

Dr Sanjiv Kataria, entomology expert, PAU, had earlier told the farmers that the insect tends to sit on higher side, ie, trees etc during evening time and this period spray of pesticides should be carried out.

Dr Kataria said the female insect lays eggs in abundance beneath the soil and after the eggs hatch, the nymph eats the whole vegetation within hours.

As per department officials, locusts attack can happen on any crop.

“A locust has a lifespan of 50-60 days. And the insect has three stages — egg, nymph and adult. They also fly in a gregarious way and thus destroy the vegetation,” an official said.

Source: https://bit.ly/3frnbyW

Leave a Reply