Madurai

Maize crops come under Fall Army worm attack

Maize crops affected by the Fall Army worm attack were fed to cattle at S. Paraipatti village near Sempatti in Dindigul district.   | Photo Credit: G. Karthikeyan

Athoor region farmers, who have raised maize in over 2,000 acres, have suffered a total loss of their crop due to Fall Army worm attack.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, one of the farmers, Radhakrishnan from S. Paraipatti, said farmers in that region were traditionally raising maize crop. Though agriculture officials encouraged the farmers to increase crop coverage, they could not resolve pest and insect attacks of the crops. The Fall Army worm attack had been a recent irritant. “Though we took up the issue with officials, they promised all assistance, but never visited our area and inspected the damaged crops,” Mayappan from S Paraipatti said.

The farmers said they even stayed indoors and escaped from the COVID-19 pandemic, but they could not save the crops which was fit only for giving as fodder to grazing animals.

The woes of farmers in Seevalseeragu was still worse. While the crops suffered partial damage to the Fall Army worm attack, the crops had withered due to lack of rains. The standing crops, which were sown in July-August, had completely turned black, signalling that the plants had withered, Muthukannan of Akkaraipatti said.

Progressive farmer Radhakrishnan, who has raised maize in 30 acres, had similar woes. He said that he had spent almost ₹35,000 per acre over the last 100 days. “Today, they are gone,” he said and recalled the paltry sum they used to get from insurance companies.

He said the government should bring experts to this belt and show how to counter the Fall Army worm attack. Also, insurance companies should be sensitised to be liberal and fast in settling claims. They should not look at the farmers with an element of suspicion, he said.

Joint Director of Agriculture Pandidurai said that last year also the issue cropped up. Maize crops raised in Palani and Oddanchathiram belts were hit due to drought. The complaint that Fall Army worm attack had damaged 2,000 acres in Athur belt was not true. A team of officials would inspect the region in the next two to three days for an on-the-spot assessment, he said.

The Assistant Director said they had inspected the fields twice along with scientists from Krishi Vigyan Kendra and Vagarai Maize Research Station.


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Printable version | Oct 24, 2021 5:28:10 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/maize-crops-come-under-fall-army-worm-attack/article33014987.ece

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