By Laxman Kafle Kathmandu, June 29: Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development Sunday said that there was no need to panic about the locusts which had entered Nepal as they were in small groups. “Based on the reports received from the local and state governments, the locusts which entered Nepal Saturday are only in small groups and they cannot cause huge losses to the agriculture sector. So, there is no need to worry now, but we need to stay alert,” said Dr. Hari Bahadur KC, spokesman at the ministry, at a press conference today. KC said that the locust swarms had flown to a dozen districts in tiny groups, and they could not pose big risks. The ministry said that the locusts which landed in Bara, Parsa, Rupandehi, Sarlahi and Sindhuli on Saturday reached Kavrepalanchowk, Ramechhap, Chitwan, Kapilvastu, Makwanpur and other districts by further dividing into smaller groups on Sunday. “We are coordinating with the State and local governments to track the flight and direction of the locusts for their management and to reduce the losses they might cause,” he said. Technical teams of the Agriculture Knowledge Centres, Prime Minister Agriculture Modernisation Project and various bodies of State and local governments have been mobilised for taking action any time if large groups of locusts arrive in the country. KC said that the ministry officials were closely coordinating with the officials of Indian and Pakistani governments, Food and Agriculture Association and experts for essential measures needed to minimize damages. The ministry officials, including Agriculture Minister Ghanashyam Bhusal, Sunday held discussions with experts on the problem. The meeting decided to disseminate information for the management of locusts from their sides, establish information desks at the Plant Quarantine and Pesticide Management Centre to update the direction and flight of the insects, according to Dr. KC. “All the government agencies are in an alert state for the proper management of locusts. We are coordinating with the National Disaster Management Authority under the Ministry of Home Affairs to mobilise it if a bigger group of locusts enters the country,” he said. Chief of Plant Quarantine and
Pesticide Management Centre Sahadev Prasad Humagain said that there was still a chance for the larger group of locusts arriving in Nepal as a swarm of locusts was heading to New Delhi from Rajasthan in India.“We have to be in alert state for a few more days as the locust swarm may come to Nepal in tune with the wind moving northward,” he said. He said that the government would use spray as last alternative in case the large group of locusts arrived. “Small group of locusts can be chased away by beating utensils. There is no chance for the number of locusts that have arrived here to swell as they cannot lay eggs and hatch in Nepal,” he said.