Haryana faces a grasshopper problem

August 15th, 2008 - 12:02 pm ICT by IANS  

By Jaideep Sarin
Chandigarh, Aug 15 (IANS) Farmers in some districts of Haryana are a worried lot as they face an invasion of crop-destroying grasshoppers. The pests are destroying crops and the state’s agriculture department has now declared an all-out war against it. Nearly 32,000 acres of land in Haryana’s districts of Rohtak, Sonepat, Mewat, Jhajjar and Faridabad has been hit by the grasshopper menace, forcing the agriculture department to constitute teams to take stock of the agricultural loss and suggest measures to control the pest.

Agriculture experts say that the grasshopper, popularly known as ‘pharka tidda’ (winged insects), generally attacks crops like jawar, bajra, maize and sugarcane. The grasshoppers eat up the leaves and tender twigs of these crops, leaving behind only the stubbles.

The present rainy spell is providing ideal conditions for breeding of grasshoppers, a spokesman of the agriculture department said here.

“These grasshoppers are destroying our crops. I hope that our agriculture scientists and the government takes corrective action in time to save the crops and us,” said farmer Nafe Singh of Rai near Sonepat.

Three teams of the agriculture department will survey the affected areas over the next few days to access the loss to crops.

“A well-planned campaign is being carried out in collaboration with the district administration and members of the Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) in the affected districts. The farmers are being continuously informed about the measures to control this pest by organizing training camps and seminars,” the agriculture department spokesman added.

Farmers are being advised not to let weeds grow over wasteland near their fields and along the canals and streams. Grasshoppers freely breed in these places, agriculture officials say.

Farmers are being informed about pesticides to get rid of these pests. The state government has also extended a 25 per cent subsidy on pesticides to enable farmers to use them freely.

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