Even as the tomato farmers are reeling under huge loss due to the steep fall in prices, the cultivators are worried about the prospects of damage to their crop due to pinworm attack.
Experts from a number of agricultural and horticultural farming agencies have found that pinworm, a fruit borer, is attacking the tomato crop in Kolar and Chickballapur districts where it is cultivated on a large scale.
Unlike the leaf minor, which was pestering the farmers in the past by eating up only the leaves of the tomato plants, pinworm is attacking and destroying all parts of the plant, including stems, leaves and the mature fruit, thus impacting both the quality and quantity of this fruit.
According to D.C. Halalingaiah, Senior Assistant Director, Horticulture Department, it is also called ‘South American Pinworm’ as it has its origin in that part of the world.
“Pinworm attack on tomato plants is seen more in Kolar and Chickballapur because of dry weather condition than it is found in Bengaluru Rural and Ramanagaram,” according to Mr. Halalingaiah. He told The Hindu that though there is no effective pesticide available so far for this newly detected insect, a number of guidelines have been framed to control it. Experts from the Regional Research and Extension Division of Gandhi Krishi Vignan Kendra (GKVK), Bengaluru, and the Indian Horticultural Research Centre at Hesaraghatta in Bengaluru conducted a joint survey to assess the loss that tomato cultivators have suffered, and then they have suggested some precautionary measures to control the pinworm attack on tomato plants.