After maize, castor crop affected by pest attack in Perambalur

The farmers said they could do nothing about the attack as no pesticide, no matter how many times used, worked.

Published: 17th December 2019 11:35 AM  |   Last Updated: 17th December 2019 11:35 AM   |  A+A-

Around 68000 hectares of maize were affected by fall armyworms last year.

Around 68000 hectares of maize were affected by fall armyworms last year. (Photo | EPS)

By Express News Service

Farmers are worried over pest attacks on castor crop. They said that they were devastated because many shifted from maize to castor due to fall armyworm attacks. It is of note that this crop was suggested by the Agriculture department following the pest attacks on maize.

Many farmers are now affected by pest attack twice in a row, despite shifting crops.

Castor is cultivated in over 347 hectares in Perambalur. Of this in Alathur taluk alone, farmers complained that as much as 50 hectares were attacked by pests. The six-month crop was planted in late July and the harvest was expected in January 2020.

The farmers said they could do nothing about the attack as no pesticide, no matter how many times used, worked. Many have started to destroy the crops already to clear fields for the next crop and to prevent it from spreading.

R Ajith Kumar, a farmer from Siruganpur said, “For the first time, I planted castor crop on 1 acre at the cost of `11,000. But the pests have almost killed it. I have used pesticides more than 10 times but it couldn’t control the pests. Already I have spent `10,000 on pesticides. Even if I somehow manage to
control it, which I am not hopeful about, I may not make any profit. I maybe even pushed to destroy the crops.”

Another affected farmer M Pandiyan destroyed 4 acres of castor crops. He said, “I planted castor on 4 acres after destroying maize. Now it is severely affected by pests. I have already seen an attack (maize) so I did not wait and I destroyed all the crops. I am going to plant sesame. I have lost Rs 80,000 in castor. The district administration should come forward and help us financially,” he added.

For a lot of Perambalur farmers it has been continuous losses with cotton, maize and now castor. Around 68000 hectares of maize were affected by fall armyworms last year.

Following this, the agriculture department recommended castor crops to farmers. 

Farmers said that they were advised to do that, saying that the investment of labour and cost was less but had high demand in the market. This attracted many and they took to castor.

The farmers lamented that despite complaints no officials came to inspect their lands. Agriculture Joint Director A Ganesan said, “Recently we inspected castor crops on the border of Kavulpalayam but did not see any attacks. We will inspect these locations soon and take action.”

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