Budworm infestation back to haunt jasmine farmers in Tiruchy, say half their produce hit

When enquired, a block level horticulture official clarified that it was budworm infestation at work.

Published: 12th March 2023 04:55 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th March 2023 04:59 AM   |  A+A-

A jasmine bud affected by budworm in Tiruchy on Saturday. | Express

A jasmine bud affected by budworm in Tiruchy on Saturday. | Express

Express News Service

TIRUCHY: The formation of “red patches” in the posterior portion of jasmine bud has returned to haunt several farmers in the district who say the disease has affected as much as half of their cultivation. Horticulture and Plantation Crops Department officials clarified that it was budworm infestation at work and assuring that it can be contained, added that plans are on to raise awareness against it among farmers in the block level.

While horticulture officials pointed out that jasmine cultivation is taken up on around 900 hectares in the district, particularly in Anthanallur and Vaiyampatti blocks, farmers in areas like Pothavur, Puliyur and Posampatti of Anthanallur block said they lacked awareness when it came to handling pest attacks and diseases. On budworm infestation, farmers said they simply knew that the “red patches” on the posterior portion of jasmine buds meant that they cannot pluck them as they wouldn’t bloom like normal ones.

Kanthasamy T, a jasmine farmer from Puliyur, said, "Jasmine cultivation is labour intensive and we pay up to Rs 250 per labourer. Ten such persons are needed for tending to one acre every day. Those jasmine buds with red patches will not bloom and hence is a loss. Every year we face the problem but this time almost half the number of jasmine buds has been affected."

N Nishanthi, another jasmine farmer, said, "We spray pesticides worth Rs 3,000 every four days but the yield is no good and the red patch formation could be not stopped.” While up to 40 kg of jasmine can be harvested from an acre of cultivation, due to the “red patches” the yield is only around 25 kg, the farmer added. When enquired, a block-level horticulture official clarified that it was a budworm infestation at work.

“A major cause for the situation is farmers spray pesticides continuously which makes the budworms develop resistance to it. Budworm is a larvae inside the bud or in flower cluster that feeds on it. There are alternative pesticides that can be used to do away with budworms." Mentioning to be aware of the infestation, a senior horticulture official in Tiruchy told TNIE, "We have so far conducted programmes in collaboration with the Horticultural College and Research Institute for Women in Tiruchy. Block-level horticulture officials are also advised to hold field visits every day and help the farmers. We are also planning to conduct more awareness programmes and issue notices on how to handle budworm infestation to farmers in the block-level."


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