Tiruchirapalli

Gall Midge attack, a fall out of direct sowing?

Gagandeep Singh Bedi, Principal Secretary, Agriculture, inspecting paddy fields affected by Gall Midge flies in Tiruvarur district on Monday.

Gagandeep Singh Bedi, Principal Secretary, Agriculture, inspecting paddy fields affected by Gall Midge flies in Tiruvarur district on Monday.  

The recent spells of rain in the delta region, which has raised hopes among the farmers of a good harvest this season, seem to have also led to a situation wherein a section of farmers are unsure of even reaping a normal harvest due to Gall Midge pest attack on their crop.

Normally, a largescale Gall Midge pest attack surfaces on fields where weeding process has not been carried out properly.

These insects are found both in irrigated and rain-fed wetlands, S. Sundaram, a seasoned farmer of Maharapuram near Thirukattupalli, points out.

Proper tilling of the land prior to sowing is of utmost importance to prevent the pest attack. In the present scenario, the pest has been reported in fields where tilling and weeding has been done in a haste, he says.

Incidentally, his claim seems to be true in view of the fact that the pest attack has been noticed in fields in Pattukottai and part of Thanjavur taluk regions in Thanjavur district and Thiruthuraipoondi, Mannargudi and Kottur in Tiruvarur district where officials of the Agriculture Department vigorously promoted direct sowing method this season.

These areas remained as river or lake or filter point irrigation areas till the recent past as Pattukottai and Tiruthuraipoondi regions falls in the Grand Anaicut Canal irrigation belt and Mannargudi and Kottur rely on the Vennar and its tributaries for irrigation. The incentive for direct sowing was announced in the middle of August and the process was completed well before September first week.

Tiruvarur Thamizhaga Vivasayigal Nalasangam president G. Sethuraman claims the pest attack is prevalent in the areas where ryots have opted for direct sowing method.

General secretary of Tamizhaga Cauvery Vivasayigal Sangam P.R. Pandian echoes him.

The standing samba paddy in several thousands of acres in delta districts has been affected by the Gall Midge pest attack, he says.

And the result: the harvest percentage may not be more than 25% to 30%, he warns.

Agriculture Production Commissioner and Principal Secretary Gagandeep Singh Bedi visited Surakottai and surrounding areas in Thanjavur district and Mannargudi and Thiruthuraipoondi talukhs in Tiruvarur district and inspected the fields affected by the pest attack.

According to official sources, nearly 30,000 hectares in Thanjavur district and about 70,000 hectares in Tiruvarur district have been brought under direct sowing method this season.

However, the District Agriculture Departments have claimed that the harvest loss due to Gall Midge pest attack will be negligible since less than 10% in each of the total cultivated area of 1.33 lakh hectares in Thanjavur district and 1.30 lakh hectares in Tiruvarur district have been infected.

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Printable version | Feb 27, 2020 2:18:18 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/gall-midge-attack-fall-out-of-direct-sowing/article30323182.ece

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