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As Thrips destroys farmer livelihoods, chilli task force turns to scientists for help

The scientists have also been asked to ascertain the damage caused and to engage with international pest management institutes to identify how various countries have been tackling the issue. 

Published: 20th January 2022 05:24 AM  |   Last Updated: 20th January 2022 05:24 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

HYDERABAD: Scientists and experts from various research institutions in the country have been asked to collaborate and share details of international publications on ‘Thrips parvispinus’ infestation in various crops that has already caused massive losses to chilli farmers in AP, Telangana, Karnataka and other States.
The scientists have also been asked to ascertain the damage caused and to engage with international pest management institutes to identify how various countries have been tackling the issue. 

Rajya Sabha MP GVL Narasimha Rao, who is the chairman of chilli task force of Spices Board, Union Ministry of Commerce, on Wednesday chaired a review meeting with experts on the subject matter to deliberate on the prevailing Thrips infestation and to identify ways to mitigate the crisis. 

The meeting was attended by eminent scientists and officials from Indian Institute of Horticultural Research (IIHR-ICAR), Dr YSR Agriculture University, National Bureau of Agricultural Insect Resources(NBAIR-ICAR), Indian Cardamom Research Institute(ICRI), Spices Board, Directorate of Plant Protection, Quarantine & Storage (DPPQS), New Delhi, Horticulture Departments of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana and chilli seed suppliers and their representatives. 

Narasimha Rao emphasised on developing advisories for farmers on good agriculture and integrated pest management practices, recommending blue sticky-traps and cultivation of short-duration chilli varieties, so that farmers could manage and survive the pest attack till a solid strategy is prepared and adopted.

The major reasons cited for serious infestation by invasive thrips were indiscriminate usage of pesticides, excessive application of nitrogenous fertilisers, October-November rains, followed by hot and humid conditions which mediated triggering of thrips and replacement of common chilli thrips ‘Scirtothrips dorsalis’ by invasive species ‘Thrips parvispinus.’ Scientists from Telangana said that the presence of thrips was now found in mango plantation, which could affect yield. They said that though the chilli crops that were infested were removed and Bengal gram was sown in those lands but the infestation continued in the next crop too.

The Director of Spices Board mentioned that due to fruit rot, the Board has received grievances from the chilli packers that in the value addition process, the final product was losing colour, which might impact exports.


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