New Delhi, Feb 23 (IANS) India’s indigenous drone industry has come to the rescue of the country’s farmers from the locust menace which has impacted crops in Rajasthan.
Accordingly, locust, a term that denotes a massive group of certain grasshopper species which in a swarming stage devastate crops. This stage can lead a swarm of locust having over a billion individual inspects.
Recently, swarms of locusts attacked Iran and caused Pakistan to declare a state of emergency. Some districts of Rajasthan were impacted as well.
Interestingly, India’s still fledgling drone industry played a crucial part in combating the menace and ultimately repulsing the attack.
The UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) were used in Rajasthan to survey the locust menace and then to spray insecticides over them that had an “instant kill” impact on the swarm.
In the case of Rajasthan, IoTechWorld Avigation, deployed drones with the consent of the Central Agriculture Ministry.
They were primarily used for spraying insecticides and surveying the area impacted by the locust swarm.
“Drones are being used for the first time. In India, Rajasthan has used drones the most, followed by some trials in Gujarat,” IoTechWorld Avigation CEO Deepak Bhardwaj said.
“Our firm along with the central government and Sumitomo (Chemicals) identified the places where locusts were settled. Then we sprayed ‘meothrin’ chemical on those locust which gave a complete knock down effect and killed the swarm in that area within five minutes.”
Elsewhere in India, drones have been used in Telangana’s Warangal , Mahaboobnagar, Sanga Reddy, Ranga Reddy districts as well as in Andhra Pradesh’s Guntur and West Godavari.
Besides, the Founder of Marut Dronetech’s Prem Kumar Vislawath pointed out that using drones to combat locust is a cost effective and a fast method.
“Locusts travel with the wind, thus it is possible to anticipate their arrival and take preventive measures to spray potential migration sites, which can only be done effectively and cost effective using drones,” said Vislawath, Founder — Marut Drones.
According to the Rekha Mishra of Agribusiness Department, Skymet: “Drones of a private firms were allowed to survey the locust population in Sri Ganganagar. The government might plan to provide drone to locust infested districts in the coming time.”
Additionally, she said that government and farmers should be prepared with all resources including drones, since the menace is not over yet.
“Warmer weather generally helps the locust swarm, provided there is enough moisture in the soil. It means warmer weather supported by rains,” she said.
“As per reports locust is under control in Pakistan now, however, it’s multiplying in the Middle East, particularly in Iran. As temperature is rising, western winds may help in the incidence of locusts in coming months. It may take 40-60 days. Otherwise also, May to September is the most suitable period for this insect.”
(Rohit Vaid can be contacted at [email protected])