Failure to compensate maize farmers will drive them to desperation, warns association

Crop destroyed in fall armyworm attack in Tiruchi district in 2018

The district unit of Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangam, affiliated to the Communist Party of India, has urged the State government to sanction compensation to farmers whose maize crop was damaged by fall armyworm in Tiruchi district in 2018.

The invasive pest destroyed about 15,303 hectares of maize crop in the district, according to a survey conducted by the government departments. A report has been sent to the government, the association said.

The crop was raised on 15,379 ha in eight taluks, including Pullampadi, Manachanallur, Thuraiyur, Uppilliyapuram and Vaiyampattai during 2018, and the pest destroyed almost the entire cultivated area.

Fall armyworm (spodoptera frugiperda) was first reported in the country in Karnataka and Telangana, following which the Indian Council for Agricultural Research sounded an alert.

The pest spread fast, and attacks were reported in Karur and Tiruchi districts. Ever since, farmers in Tiruchi district had been demanding sanction of compensation for the damage, said Ayilai Siva.Suriyan, district secretary of the association, in a representation to the Chief Secretary.

Farmers, whose banana crops were damaged in gales at Andhanallur, Manikandam, Lalgudi, Manachanallur, Musiri, Thottiyam, Tiruverumbur and Uppoliyapuram areas during 2016-18, were also yet to get compensation from the government, he pointed out.

“Such unforeseen losses leave the farmers completely devastated as over the past 10 years they have been facing shortage of water for irrigation and have had to spend heavily for irrigating their fields using diesel motors to pump water. Failure of the government to sanction compensation in time will leave the farmers frustrated and desperate,” he added.


Meanwhile, the Agriculture department has issued an advisory for maize growers asking them to take up summer ploughing of their fields so as to check the pest attack during the coming season.

Ploughing should be taken up after complete removal of leftover stem and leaves of the previous crop that may still be lying in the field, according to the Joint Director of Agriculture, Perambalur.

Since the worms would reach the surface of the soil during ploughing, they would be destroyed in the summer heat or become prey for birds. This would largely help control the pest attack during the coming season.

He pointed out that last year maize was raised on about 61,625 hectares in Perambalur and the fall armyworm attack was reported in the district too.

The department also advised farmers to adopt the recommended pest control measures during sowing. Farmers should also sow simultaneously, the release said.

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Printable version | Apr 8, 2020 11:44:18 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/failure-to-compensate-maize-farmers-will-drive-them-to-desperation-warns-association/article27061652.ece

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