Madurai

Coconut farmers worried over whitefly attack

A coconut tree affected in the whitefly attack in a grove at Sholavandan in Madurai district on Sunday.   | Photo Credit: R. Ashok

Coconut farmers of Madurai district are in a state of worry following attack of Rugose Spiralling Whitefly, an invasive pest, in coconut trees.

P. Manikandan, president of Madurai District Wet and Dry Land Farmers’ Association, said the attack is visible in the coconut trees for the past one month. “Earlier the attack was confined to Pollachi and Udumalpet and other places in the State,” he said.

There are around 3,000 hectares of coconuts trees in Sholavandan and Kottampatti regions in Madurai district.

J. Bhaskaran, a farmer whose coconut groves in Sholavandan were affected, said the whitefly attacks the leaves and palms of the coconut trees. As a result, the leaves start withering. “Ultimately the yield is affected resulting in heavy losses for the farmers,” he said.

“Farmers are clueless about the solution for the pest attack. Even when we approach the Agricultural Department officials, it is to no avail,” he said.

Joint Director of Agriculture T. Vivekanandan said hot weather conditions are very conducive for the whitefly. Water spraying with force is one of the ways to contain the spread of the pest attack. Awareness of the pest and its control have to be intensified among the farmers, he said.

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Printable version | May 8, 2021 4:56:29 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/coconut-farmers-worried-over-whitefly-attack/article34296515.ece

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