1. Agriculture World

Long Monsoon Breaks Lead to Pest Attacks on Many Crops in Maharashtra

Ayushi Raina
Ayushi Raina

The prolonged monsoon rains have caused farmers in the state to struggle with various pests and diseases. Soybean farmers, especially those in Marathwada, are concerned about the mosaic virus and the infestation of the pink worm and the American bollworm. The Department of Agriculture has issued recommendations on preventive measures to be taken to solve the pest problem.

Soya bean producers in the Amravati, Latur and Osmanabad regions have reported mosaic virus attacks. This virus is a secondary infection caused by aphids, which can cause leaf curling, retarded growth and decreased productivity of oilseed crops. Although the attack is limited to a few pockets, the Ministry of Agriculture has recommended preventive measures, including spraying insecticides such as imidacloprid. The announcement issued last week pointed out that the use of infected seeds may be a possible cause of the spread of the virus.

Government’s efforts to reduce Crop losses

On 10th August, 2021, the state agriculture commissioner organized a meeting of high-level experts to discuss the virus attacks on tomato crops, as producers in Maharashtra have reported significant crop losses due to the mosaic virus attack over the past two years. 

Nurseries selling tomato saplings have been instructed to ensure that they take appropriate measures to control the spread of the virus. A detailed report on the matter is expected to be submitted shortly. Last year, the Department of Agriculture worked to promote seed reuse by farmers, and this year asked farmers to be careful in selecting seeds from uninfected parts of the field. Maharashtra reports oilseed planting on 450,000 hectares, an all-time high.

The infestation of pink and American bollworm in cotton fields is also a crucial problem for farmers.

Although some cotton fields in Marathwada and Vidarbha have reported infestations of this pest, the number of such cases is very less.In few cases, the pests caused such widespread damage that the farmers concerned reported significant crop losses.

Maize growers in the state are also facing fall armyworm infections.

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