With every day dawning with a new pest threat for the Kuttanad farmer, newer methods of tackling the threats are being experimented all across the agricultural belt. And help too, is coming in from various quarters.

After the Kuttanad Vikasana Samithi, which will experiment the tricho-card in about 2,000 acres in Kuttanad during this ‘puncha’ season, the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), a Bangalore-based non-governmental organisation, is now offering the same anti-pest measure with subsidies for farmers in the region.

ATREE, according to its programme officer Jojo T.D., has begun its experiment with the tricho-card, which is based on the concept of using lab-reared pests to tackle ‘wild’ pests. The card was used in 55 acres in the Aymanam panchayat of the neighbouring Kottayam district from December 19, with the local Krishi Bhavan providing a 50 per cent subsidy and ATREE, another 25 per cent subsidy for the farmer.

Training to use the cards were imparted to the farmers and ATREE is now preparing to take the initiative to other panchayats as well, including those in the Kuttanad belt of Alappuzha district. The tricho-cards, they say, do not have any biological side-effects, and with the use of artificial pesticides being avoided, the paddy thus produced can be labeled organic.

“In fact, the Aymanam panchayat is planning to move for organic certification of the paddy cultivated in the 55 acres where we used the tricho-card,” Mr. Jojo said, adding that ATREE was willing to help any padasekharam samithi in Kuttanad which approached it for assistance in using tricho-cards.

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