Andhra Pradesh

World Vegetable Center takes up tomato pest research in Madanapalle

Recording fluctuations in tomato yields as part of research into pest control at marketyard of Madanapalle in Chittoor district.

Recording fluctuations in tomato yields as part of research into pest control at marketyard of Madanapalle in Chittoor district.   | Photo Credit: ByArrangement

The World Vegetable Center (WVC), a Taiwan-based horticulture research forum, has embarked on the ambitious mission of putting an end to the menacing pest ‘tuta absoluta’ which is found to be affecting the large expanses of tomato farms in Madanapalle region, considered the largest tomato-growing belt in India.

The WVC scientists from its Hyderabad chapter have launched research into the pest, obtaining successful results in recent weeks. A Germany-based trade organisation is also involved in extending the logistics to the research.

The pest is also found be to common in South and Central Asian countries, affecting the tomato crops. Currently, the research was grounded in four experiment farmlands in Ramasamudram, Palamaner, Nimmanapalle and Madanapalle mandals. The Agriculture Market Yard (Madanapalle) chairman, Ratakonda Gurappa Naidu, said that it is for the first time that an eco-friendly pest management system has been launched in Madanapalle region to protect the predominant crop of tomato, and to bring happiness and high yield to the farmers. He said that in peak times of harvesting, the output would touch around 700 to 800 tonnes per day, and during times of pest, the yields would dip drastically.

Gel-like substance

“The WVC scientists have developed a gel-like substance, which would be placed in the fields. The substance which smells like a female tuta would attract the male tutas in large numbers. Entangled in the gummy chemical, the male tutus will again find themselves stormed by other male tutus. In a record time of a few weeks, the chemical can kill the tutus spread over 12 generations. Its like doing family planning operation among male tutus by killing them, and leaving the females to go barren, and thus arresting the progeny,” he said.

Already, the tomato growers in large numbers have shown much interest in the experiment, expecting the laboratory success to reach their fields. The worst dimension of this ‘tuta absoluta’ pest is that it would affect the crop when it is about to be harvested, thus bringing huge damage in the fields and causing unbearable losses to farmers. Tomato enjoys the envious status of having dual purposes for the processing units and domestic consumers as well.

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Printable version | Sep 22, 2020 3:57:53 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/world-vegetable-center-takes-up-tomato-pest-research-in-madanapalle/article22493537.ece

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