24 June 2020
Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers’ Welfare (DAC&FW), under Make in India initiative indigenously develop a vehicle-mounted ULV sprayer for locust control to overcome the limitation of importing equipment.
- Mechanization and Technology Division of DAC&FW developed a prototype of the sprayer, through an Indian manufacturer.
- The trials of the sprayer were successfully conducted in Ajmer and Bikaner district of Rajasthan.
- The ground control vehicles with sprayers used for locust control can only spray up to a height of 25-30 feet. The tractor-mounted sprayers were used. But they also have a limitation in reaching inaccessible areas and tall trees. Hence the necessity of exploring aerial spray was explored.
- The deployment of drones has enhanced another dimension in the capabilities of Locust Circle offices to ensure effective control over desert locust.
- Currently, vehicle-mounted sprayers were supplied by M/s Micron Sprayers, UK. GoI placed an order for 60 nos. of sprayers on the firm in February 2020.
- Standard Operating Procedure of aerial spraying of insecticides by drones, airplanes, and helicopters was approved by the Central Insecticides Board for locust control.
To facilitate Aerial Spray:
- As aerial spray became essential to facilitate it two firms have been empanelled for providing services of drones for a spray of pesticides for Locust control. These firms conducted some trials in Jaipur (Rajasthan) and Shivpuri (Madhya Pradesh).. An Empowered Committee was constituted for facilitating the procurement of goods and services for an aerial spray of pesticides through drones, aircraft, and a helicopter.
- Thereafter, on the recommendation of the Empowered Committee work order for engagement of Drones to five companies (5 drones each) has been issued. All five drone service providers have started work at Barmer, Jaisalmer, Bikaner, Nagore, and Phalodi (Jodhpur) district of Rajasthan with the deployment of 12 drones to date in a phased manner.
- The experience of the use of drones has been more than satisfactory in inaccessible areas and for effective control over tall trees.
- Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations has appreciated that India is the first country in the world that is controlling Desert Locust through Drones.
- India has become the first country in the world to use drones for controlling desert locust.