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"Thrips" Invade Telanagana; Farmers Demand Rs. 1 Lakh In Crop Compensation

For the past several weeks, a new invasive species of insects known as "thrips" from Indonesia have been swiftly spreading havoc across the state of Telangana, by damaging chilli crops and catching farmers and scientists off guard.

Abin Joseph
Harvested Chillies
Harvested Chillies

For the past several weeks, a new invasive species of insects known as "thrips" from Indonesia have been swiftly spreading havoc across the state of Telangana, by damaging chilli crops and catching farmers and scientists off guard. 

Due to the destruction of their crops, farmers have demanded a compensation of Rs. 1 lakh per acre to partially compensate them for their losses. A group of farmers in Khammam even met with Agriculture Department officials and presented a letter describing the severe damage to the district's red chilli crop. 

Crop loss 

Bontu Rambabu, a senior leader of Telangana Rythu Sangham, told BusinessLine.“Of the 1.06 lakh acres where the crop is raised, about 70-80,000 acres of plantation is completely damaged. Besides the new pest, a virus too has caused damage to the crop”.The new pest's onslaught was first observed last year, this has forced teams from Professor Jayashankar Telangana State Agricultural University (PJTSAU) to investigate the problem. 

Farmers in some areas are removing plants because they are unable to manage the bug. Farmers often begin 'picking' the fruits in the first week of January, with three to four further 'pickings' following. Because they are unable to control the pest, farmers in some locations are eliminating plants. Farmers often start 'picking' the fruits in the first week of January, with three to four further 'pickings' following. Chilli crops are being planted on 3.59 lakh acres in ten districts throughout Telangana this year, which is 1.19 lakh acres more compared to the previous year. The current chilli crop damage across the country is projected to have an impact on exports, which were 6, 01,500 tonnes worth '8,430 crores in 2020-21.  

Cost of cultivation 

According to reports from Warangal, the other commercial chilli-growing district, and Andhra Pradesh, the red chilli crop has been severely damaged. Farmers spend approximately 1.50 lakh per acre on agricultural production and another 50,000-60,000 on harvesting and delivering the commodities to the mandis. 

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