Giant African Snails haunt the estates of North Kodagu
“During pre-monsoon, I spotted a couple of Giant African Snails on coffee plants and I got rid of them.
MADIKERI: With the arrival of the monsoon, coffee growers of Handli village near Shanivarasanthe in north Kodagu are fighting a harmful invasive species. The Giant African Snails have invaded a majority of the estates in the village with coffee growers struggling to rid the estates of these pests.
“During pre-monsoon, I spotted a couple of Giant African Snails on coffee plants and I got rid of them. Now, there is an army of these pests and they are destroying my crops — coffee, pepper vines and plantains,” Suresh Babu, a coffee grower, told TNIE.
The snails feed on stems, leaves and creepers. The farmers rued that the snails multiply quickly and there seems to be no solution in sight to get rid of them. “We are now hiring labourers to remove these snails from the plants. However, this is a disgusting job and we have to pay extra to labourers. A majority of the labourers do not want to take up this task as these snails are slimy,” said Kumar, another grower.
The residents explained that the attacks from these snails across estates have been reported every year during the wet season for five years now. While the government provided some compensation and remedy during the previous years, it is not the case now, said another coffee grower.
“There needs to be a scientific solution to this problem. Coffee Board scientists have to come up with a permanent solution to rid the estates of these snails even as government support to the affected growers is the need of the hour,” concluded Kumar.