Madurai

Farmers call for a better pest management plan

Collector and officials take part in an online grievance day meeting at the Thoothukudi Collectorate on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: N. Rajesh

Farmers have urged the authorities to come out with a better pest management plan in the wake of fall armyworm attack on maize fields.

The farmers appealed to the Collector K. Senthil Raj, who chaired an online farmer’s grievance day meeting, held here on Thursday after eight months. The last meeting was held on February 27 before the COVID-19 pandemic.

While the Collector and senior officials were present at the Collectorate, farmers aired their grievances from 12 block level agriculture offices in the district. Joint Director of Agriculture S I Mohideen said farmers who had started early and the crop which had withstood over a month had not been affected by fall armyworm attack. Using pesticides early had saved the crop. Field-level visits by officials in Oddapidaram, Kovilpatti, Pudur and Vilathikulam confirmed that the attack could be managed at this stage. He appealed to the farmers to spray pesticide and claim 50% of the cost as subsidy by producing the receipt.

The Collector said that against the average annual rainfall of 662 mm, Thoothukudi district received 395 mm till Thursday, which showed 40% deficit. “Still we have north-east monsoon. We hope to receive more rains to offset the deficit,” he said and added that many of the waterbodies had filled up and reservoirs had 80% storage.

The Collector urged farmers to insure their crop if they had not done it already. He also urged the officials to create an awareness among the farmers about the merits of crop insurance.

Eswaramoorthy, a farmer, wanted more time for taking the crop insurance as the north-east monsoon was getting delayed. Rajendran from Nazareth raised doubts over the CM’s announcement to release surplus water from Tamirabarani to Uppar, Malataru, Kallar and Vaipaar “as it may lead to a drought-like situation.” However, Mallusami from Oddapidaram block welcomed the CM’s move to release the surplus water as it would give opportunity for more farmers to bring their lands under plough.

The Collector said fertilizer stock was adequate and the dministration would explore the possibility of keeping Direct Purchase Centres open throughout the year for the benefit of farmers.

Additional Collector Vishnu Chandran and PA (Agriculture) to Collector Balasubramanian were present.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2021 4:19:23 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/farmers-call-for-a-better-pest-management-plan/article33187056.ece

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