The Tamil Nadu government on Saturday assured that farmers need not be alarmed since the possibility of desert locusts attacking the State was remote.

According to an official release, Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami chaired a meeting with Ministers and officials to review the situation. Following reports, officials along with scientists from Tamil Nadu Agriculture University undertook a study only to find out that grasshoppers found in some parts of the State were not desert locusts, as it was originally feared.

Though the chances of desert locusts attacking the State were remote, the Chief Minister instructed officials to undertake certain precautionary measures and to monitor the situation in various districts.

“Farmers need not be alarmed over hoppers found in fields by mistaking them for desert locusts. However, if they are found, farmers could inform officials in agriculture and horticulture departments at once,” the Chief Minsiter said.

Farmers could also take images of the pest and upload them on Uzhavan mobile app to consult with officials, he added.

Meanwhile, Agriculture Principal Secretary Gagandeep Singh Bedi said, “Based on reports that there were grasshopper attacks in Krishnagiri, Kanniyakumari, a team of experts from the Agriculture, Horticulture departments had visited the spots and confirmed that these are not desert locusts.”

There are nearly 250 species of local grasshoppers, of which 40-50 serve some favourable purpose, said Mr. Bedi. The department was in touch with the neighbouring States and the Locust Warning Organization on a day-to-day basis.

All districts have been asked to be prepared with tractor-mounted sprays and pesticides should the need arise. The government suggested biopesticide, and three other chemicals to be used by farmers, he added.

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