Under the Make in India initiative the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers’ Welfare (DAC&FW) has initiated to develop a vehicle mounted ultra-low volume (ULV) sprayer for locust control to reduce the limitations of importing equipment.
Note: India is the first country in the world to control desert locusts using drones.
Vehicle Mounted ULV:
i.This initiative is led by the Mechanization and Technology Division of DAC&FW with a sprayer prototype developed by Indian manufacturer.
ii.The initial trial of the sprayer has been conducted in Ajmer and Bikaner districts of Rajasthan and is awaiting approval for commercial launch.
The ground control vehicles with sprayers can spray up to a height of 25-30 feet and the tractor mounted sprayers have difficulties in reaching tall trees and areas with less accessibility.
i.The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) approved the Directorate of Plant Protection, Quarantine & Storage, Faridabad (DPPQ&S) for Drone operations for locust control on 21st May 2020 to cover the limitations of the Vehicle mounted ULV.
ii.The Central Insecticides Board approved the Standard Operating Procedure of aerial spraying of insecticides by drones, airplanes and helicopters on 22nd May 2020.
i.Currently the Micron Sprayers, of United Kingdom(UK) is the supplier of Vehicle mounted sprayer to India.
ii.In February 2020, India has placed an order for 60 sprayers and till date has received only 15 sprayers and the remaining 45 units will be supplied within a month period.
iii.Two firms have enlisted to provide drone service for locust control and have conducted trials in Jaipur (Rajasthan) and Shivpuri (Madhya Pradesh).
iv.To ensure effective locust control, After the Empowered committee’s recommendations, 5 companies are issued 5 drones each and the service has started in Barmer, Jaisalmer, Bikaner, Nagore and Phalodi (Jodhpur) district of Rajasthan with deployment of 12 drones.
About Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare:
Union Minister– Narendra Singh Tomar
Ministers of State– Purushottam Rupala and Kailash Choudhary
About Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA):
Minister– Hardeep Singh Puri