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India: Papaya cultivation faces threat from 'Mealy Bug' pest in Tamil Nadu
Time:17 Dec 2009
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Papaya cultivation in Tamil Nadu is faced with a serious threat from a new kind of pest called 'Mealy Bug' which has invaded the crop.

In India, papaya is cultivated in 8000 hectares of area whereas in Tamil Nadu alone Papaya is cultivated in about 3000 hectares area.

The farmers have suffered losses due to the sudden outbreak of the pest, which has a high resistance to pesticides due to their waxy body surface.

The pest from Mexico spreads fast across fruits and crops. It is small in size and lay around 1500 eggs in one season.

"When we approached the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University for the solution of the problem, they suggested some pesticides which does not prove to be effective. The situation is a fix, as what do we do? We have grown this cultivation on more than 2 acre of land, and 50,000 rupees have been spent per acre. And in spite of that we have suffered huge loses. We are fully dependent only on this and now find it very difficult to even sustain our living," said Krishnaswamy, a worried farmer.

Papaya production has already been affected a lot compared to the previous year's production and export.

"Farmers if see the insects on their crop, they immediately go for an insecticide or for the combination products. If one insecticide works well the first time then they give the repeated application of the insecticide, which is not correct, " said Jonathan, Director, Centre For Plant Production Studies, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University.

Farmers fear that if similar situation continues for long it will destroy the entire Papaya crop affecting the livelihood of farmers.


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