BENGALURU: The current developments in crop protection with emphasis on organic farming, biodiversity, conservation, biological control and bio-intensive pest management will be the focus at the conference of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) - National Bureau of Agricultural Insect Resources (NBAIR) in the City between March 3 and 5.The sixth national conference on biological control (NCBC-2021) - ‘Innovative Approaches for Green India’ -- will also address biological control of new pests that are coming from overseas and posing a huge threat to crops.
The conference will be held in hybrid mode and provide an “ideal platform where fresh knowledge, experiences, recent innovations and novel concepts in the practical implementation of biological and integrated management for pests and crop diseases will be discussed,” said Dr T Venkatesan, chief organizing secretary, NCBC-2021.
The topics will cover biodiversity and biosystematics of natural enemies, biological control of plant diseases and pests, bio-intensive integrated pest management (IPM) modules, molecular biology and bioinformatics approach in pest management, bio control compatible approaches and bio control and allied industry.
Of late, the entomologists in the country have been alarmed at the “unauthorised introduction” of foreign invasive pests, which are destroying Indian crops and causing untold misery to our hapless farmers. Cassava mealybug (Phenacoccus manihoti Matile-Ferrero) is the latest among the foreign invasive pests, which in September last year had cast a doom for tapioca (cassava) farmers in the three southern states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka.
“Cassava mealybug has recently arrived in India from Thailand reportedly through some plant material or unauthorised introduction,” Dr Shylesh, principal entomologist, NBAIR, told The New Indian Express. He said that this was not the first time that foreign pests have “unauthorizedly” been introduced in the country. “In the last two years we have seen coconut rugose whitefly (Aleurodicus rugiperculatus) and fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda), which have reportedly gained unauthorized entry from Mexican region and Sri Lanka.
They have destroyed coconut and maize farms across the country,” said Dr Shylesh. In May and June 2020, locusts swarms from Sindh in Pakistan had posed a huge threat to crops in Haryana, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab and Madhya Pradesh. Karnataka was on the edge after locust swarms had made their way into Maharashtra. They have defoliated precious citrus plants in Nagpur and were found roosting in neem and acacia (babool) trees.