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Farmers in Trouble as Fall Army Worm Destroys Maize Crops in Tamil Nadu

Prity Barman
Prity Barman

On 3rd November, Tuesday farmers from Athoor region in Tamil Nadu informed reporters that they have suffered huge crop loss because of the Fall Army worm attack. The farmers had cultivated over 2,000 acres of land with maize crop and Fall Army worm destroyed the entire crop. 

One of the farmers from S. Paraipatti region told reporters that they had been growing maize crops traditionally and also said that the government officials had asked to increase the crop coverage however they couldn’t resolve the problem of pest and insect attacks on the crops.  

The Fall Army worm attack had been a recent problem for the farmers and yet they had brought the issue to the notice of the respective officials. As claimed by another farmer from the same region, the officials only promised to assist them in the problem but never once visited the area nor inspected the damaged crops. 

The farmers said that they had even stayed indoors following the Covid-19 norms but because of that they couldn’t save their crops from being damaged. The crops were so damaged that it could not be even given as fodder to grazing animals. 

Seevalseeragu farmers had been facing worst conditions, apart from the half of the crops being widely affected by the Fall Army worms, the rest of the crops were affected due to the lack of rainfall. Less rainfall had made the crops withered totally; all of the standing crops which were sown in the month of July-August had totally turned black. 

One of the progressive farmers Radhakrishnan who had grown maize in 30 acres said that he had faced a loss of around Rs. 35, 000 per acre over the last 100 days recalling the paltry sum that the insurance companies pay them. 

Adding to his woes he also stated that the government should bring experts to the affected regions and also demo on how to counter the attack of the Fall Army worm attack. Insurance companies should be sensitised and believe the farmers instead of suspecting them and the claims should be settled faster than usual said Radhakrishnan. 

The assistant director of Agriculture Pandidurai claimed that they had checked the fields twice under the guidance of the scientist from Krishi Vigyan Kendra and Vagarai Maize Research Station. 

The Joint Director said that last year also the issue came up due to drought especially the regions of Palani and Oddanchthiram’s ,aize crop were affected and the complaint of the Fall Army worm attack on the 2, 000 acres in Athur were proven to be false; he also said that a team of officials would inspect the fields in the next 36-48 hours for an on spot assessment. 

Similar incident had occurred in the districts of Virudhunagar in the month of October. The district administration had come up with an integrated pest control method to counter the Fall Army worm attack on the maize crop. 

The collector of Virudhunagar, R Kannan said that the standing crops were of 15-45 days old and the farmers had covered around 15,596 hectares of farm land with maize crops out of the 24,000 hectares decided. 

According to the statement released the collector had appealed the farmers to follow some steps which would help them to protect their crops from pest like summer ploughing, mixing of neem cake with soil and using of pheromone traps. 

The basic concept of deep ploughing was given to the farmers in which they were asked to mix 250 kg of neem cake for every hectare. The seeds were asked to be treated with bio-pests like Beauveria and other bio-pesticides which would help the controlling of pest in the initial days of the crop plantation.  

Besides these measures other tips were also provided like growing crops like cowpea, sunflower gingelly and sorghum as the border crop whereas black gram and green gram as inner crop.  

Farmers should be able to detect the eggs as well as the larvae of the Fall Army worms so that they could be eradicated on time using lime powder with sands and using other organic ways to prevent the pest attacks like using the neem seed mixture with 1 Litre of water could eradicate the pest if found on the crops. 

It was cleared that no use of chemical pesticide were allowed during the flowering as well as the harvesting season so as to protect the crop and also the consumers from the harmful effects of the chemical pesticides. 

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