While coffee growers are smarting under the loss caused to the crop due to excessive rainfall in Kodagu district, grasshopper menace has added to their cup of woes in certain parts of Napoklu region in Madikeri taluk.
The locusts have swarmed coffee plantations of Kundyolanda Ramesh Muddaiah at Kolakeri near Napoklu, voraciously feeding on the shoots and leaves of the plants. Most of the branches have started dying. This is a serious blow to the growers, whose crop prospects were already affected by heavy rains, Mr. Muddaiah said.
The insects were showing resistance to pesticides that were being sprayed on the plants, Mr. Muddaiah said. Coffee berries have dropped due to excess rainfall in many parts of the district. Rainfall is continuing still albeit with lesser intensity in most parts of Kodagu. The grasshopper menace had come as a new challenge to the growers in the Napoklu region, Mr. Muddaiah said. However, there are no confirmed reports as yet on the grasshopper attacks on coffee plants from other parts of the district.
Mr. Muddaiah has appealed to the government and the Coffee Board to come to the rescue of the growers. A source in the College of Forestry said that the grasshopper attacks would have to be verified before arriving at any decision. The source also confirmed that no complaint was received by the college.