Vegetables, fodder crops hit by locust swarms

New Delhi: Locust swarms are mainly attacking summer vegetables, fodder crops and trees as kharif sowing is awaiting onset of monsoon, according to an agriculture scientist, here on Sunday.

In parts of UP and MP, vegetables, like cabbage, aubergine, okra, chilli, sponge gourd, bitter gourd, cucumber, water melons and black-eyed peas that were cultivated in the river basins had been affected by locusts, said Dr Vijay Kumar Yadav, acting director of the ICAR-Indian Grassland & Fodder Research Institute in Jhansi.

Summer fodder crops, like sorghum, millet and its hybrid, had been affected by locusts, he added.

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Spring-bred immature adult locust swarms that reached Rajasthan from the West and moved toward northwest and central India have affected several districts of Rajasthan, MP and some other states.

In the Bundelkhand region, spread across UP and MP, summer moong crop has also been hit. Among trees moringa, acacia, mango and guava were attacked by locust, said Yadav.

In many places, vegetables and moong crops had been affected 50-60 per cent, fodder crops 30-40 per cent and moringa trees 50 per cent, he said and added, it had also affected local supply of green vegetables to many cities.

Several state governments, including Delhi, have issued advisory to farmers and taken steps to control damages. As on May 28, 377 spots, spread over 53,997 hectares, had been covered since the locust control operations started on April 11, the Union Agriculture Ministry claimed on Friday.

However, Pawan Kumar, a plant protection officer in Rajasthan, told IANS over phone no new locust swarms were arriving and big swarms were also getting dispersed.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also mentioned the locust attack in his monthly radio programme ‘Mann Ki Baat’ on Sunday.

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