MADIKERI: After rains, floods and landslides, Kodagu is now staring at a pest outbreak. This could threaten a few crops still remaining if immediate measures are not taken up, say experts. While the government is yet to address the growing demand of assistance from the region’s estate owners, who grow crops like paddy, pepper and coffee, farmers might have to struggle alone to save their standing crops.
Immediate actions like spraying pesticides and clearing the wet leaves are the need of the hour. “The fungal infection can be caused by rotting of leaves and coffee berries. This disease can spread across the plantations and lead to severe crop damage,” said Dr J Venkatesh, a retired agricultural scientist. Once the imminent threat has been dealt with and the land destroyed by the landslides becomes accessible, the task of cultivating the soil must also start.
“The land has to be surveyed to direct the water flow and naturally created streams. Plants native to the region should be planted and foremost importance has to be given to pioneering species which grow naturally on any soil. These species need limited water and nutrients to survive,” said environmentalist AN Yellappa Reddy.
“The government departments must work intensively for at least next 6-7 months,” said Reddy. “By scientific approach, the lost land due to landslides can be slowly recouped. This may take as long as 2-3 years,” said retired GKVK professor Balakrishna Gowda. “Affected farmers may not get the same yield as they used to, but with time, they will be able to restart their cultivation from scratch.” Experts suggest a committee be formed consisting of revenue, horticulture and agriculture departments to survey the land loss and crop loss. This has to be done at the earliest for the welfare of farmers.
Spice market hit
The flood havoc in Kerala, Kodagu and other Malnad districts in Karnataka has started to impact the spices market. The scarcity of spices like green cardamom, black pepper, clove, nutmeg and others have escalated. The prices of spices are skyrocketing due to a shortage of supply and increase in demand.