Keeping locusts away, the herbal way

Is there an effective — and that far too eco-helpful — solution to the menacing problem of locusts that has remaining authorities splitting their hair?

An Erode-based mostly farmer innovator, GV Sudarshan, felicitated by the Indian Council of Agricultural Exploration (ICAR) very last yr, thinks that a herbal concoction that he has developed soon after a couple of years of exploration can serve as an anti-feedant that will preserve absent these migratory pests, which have afflicted various lakhs of hectares of croplands in numerous States, notably Rajasthan.

Limited trials carried out by a Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) in Hanumangarh district of Rajasthan very last month identified that cotton fields sprayed with this biopesticide had been spared by locusts, indicating its performance. Anoop Kumar, KVK in-charge, verified to BusinessLine that fields sprayed with the herbal extract had been remaining untouched by the pests even though individuals in the vicinity had been afflicted. “But to gauge its usefulness more trials are necessary in fields at different locations,” Kumar reported.

“This could be the world’s first effective biocontrol agent against locusts,” reported Sudarshan, who subsequently wrote to the Primary Minister’s Office environment (PMO) requesting for a more elaborate testing of the item. He reported he was joyful that the PMO responded promptly and the undertaking has now been forwarded to officers engaged in locust command in Jodhpur as a result of the Ministry of Agriculture.

Referred to as HerboLiv+, the item developed by Sudarshan’s company Mivipro Solutions Limited and validated by Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU), Coimbatore, is identified to have a a great deal larger role in solving gentleman-animal conflicts in an atmosphere-helpful manner. “We have worked with a number of agricultural and forest officers in different States — from Kerala to Jammu and Kashmir from Rajasthan to Uttar Pradesh. All of them have provided us beneficial responses about its potential to repel wild animals. Though some animals discover it challenging to stand its odour, some the taste,” reported Sudarshan.

Herboliv+, built of extracts of a couple of herbs and cow byproducts, is identified to be anti-repellent for a large range of animals, which include boars, elephants, monkeys, nilghai, peacocks and rodents. KK Sunilkumar, Divisional Forest Officer at Mannarkad forest division in Kerala, reported that restricted trials executed by forest staff and farmers dwelling in the vicinity of the forest identified that it was “effective in managing intrusion by wild elephants and peacocks”.

“But the issue was that even birds and flies had been keeping away from the fields,” Sunilkumar told BusinessLine.

A biochemistry graduate from PSG Faculty in Coimbatore, Sudarshan developed this item way back in 2015 to secure his ancestral forty five acre farm in Kongahalli, in Satyamangalam. “As our farm was pretty shut to the forest region, herbivorous wild animals utilised to forage on our crops, top to untold crop decline. This was what prompted me to produce this item,” he reported.

When it was identified effective in holding animals absent, he resolved to get it validated by authorities at TNAU in 2015. Considering the fact that then, various KVKs in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh have tested it, which documented various other qualities of Herboliv+.