Report will be submitted to Agriculture Department soon

A team of experts from the Kerala Agricultural University and the Agriculture Department visited the Giant African Snail-infested areas of Konni grama panchayat on Tuesday following reports of the creeping creatures feeding on vegetation, posing threat to agriculture.

The Giant African Snails have been thriving in Konni for the last two years. People were complaining of destruction of vegetable plants, coconut trees, cash crops and other vegetation by snails. These creeping, greasy creatures feed on all kinds of plants – tapioca plants, papaya trees and climb on tall coconut trees to gobble the tender leaves.

The expert team comprised T.M. Kurien, head of KAU Agriculture Research Station in Thiruvalla; Aby Abraham, Assistant Director of Agriculture; K.M. Koshy, Deputy Director of Agriculture; Ambikadevi, entomologist, and Sajeena, plant pathologist.

The team members collected snail specimens from their daytime hideouts for examination.

Dr. Abraham and Dr. Koshy told The Hindu that hygiene should be given top priority to keep off creatures like snails.

Dr. Abraham said the snails they found were giant in size weighing 700 to 800 grams. They fed on vegetation and walls of buildings as they required a good amount of calcium for their shell. He said spraying of copper sulphate-tobacco mixture was an organic way of snail eradication.

The team also felt the need to adopt chemical control methods to combat such a large-scale snail menace in Konni. Metaldehide would be effective in this regard.

Steps should be taken to launch cultivation in all lands lying fallow in the affected areas as wet fallow lands were found to have been the best breeding grounds of such creatures.

Dr. Abraham said the team would submit its report to the Agriculture Department soon so that the department could release funds for snail-eradication in Konni and surrounding areas on a war-footing.

Keywords: snail menace

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