On the occasion of National Youth Day, 2022, Rashtriya Kisan Progressive Association (RKPA), one of the leading farmers’ bodies that was at the vanguard in pleading for the Right to technology in the country, today asked chilli growers of two major states to unite and jointly fight regulators who are stumbling block in getting quality agri-input especially in – Andhra Pradesh and Telangana –and advocated the usage of modern agritech practices to tackle invasive pest like ‘ThripsParvispinus’.
The new invasive pest has severely impacted the red chilli crop in certain districts of the two states by affecting the plants at the flowering stage and stunting their growth. Heavy rains in the recent months in the growing areas further compounded the problem.
With farmers worried that the crop yield might take a hit due to the pest, RKPA said the “solution lies in the use of the right agri-inputs like seeds, fertilisers and appropriate pesticides in correct quantities.”
In India, farmers are facing twin problems of spurious pesticides available in the market as well as a lack of awareness regarding the proper usage of agrochemicals to protect their crops. It is important that pesticides should be used in the right quantity based on the soil health of farmland.
“Besides the quality and right quantity, the timing of applying pesticide is also key for proper growth of the crop and tackle invasive pests like Thripsparvispinus. Use of modern technologies, including drones, robotics, and artificial intelligence will help in uniform spraying of pesticides,” said the experts.
According to estimates, the two states — Andhra Pradesh (43.5 per cent) and Telangana (23.5 per cent) — account for over 67 per cent of the country’s chilli production.
The problem of the new pest ‘thrips’ was noticed in early 2020 in red chilli crops in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. The pest population has flared up as early as October 2021 with both adults and young ones feeding on the ovaries of the flowers and making them unfit for fruiting, heightening fears of heavy flower drop and yield losses.
Due to these concerns, the chilli prices in the past two to three weeks have soared by over 30 per cent across various markets in Telangana and Guntur.
“There is a strong need to control Thrips which feed on the lower surface of leaves of red chilli and are mainly responsible for leaf curl disease. These pests, if not controlled, can reduce the yield by 30 to 50 per cent resulting in great loss to growers,” cautioned RKPA.
During the field trials of botanicals and chemical insecticides, it was observed that the use of Spinosad 0.015% is effective in managing the menace of chilli thrips. “Recommended doses of chemicals and botanicals may be useful in devising proper integrated pest management against chilli thrips”, RKPA said.
The control measures, they emphasised, are needed to be undertaken at early stages to prevent significant economic loss to red chilli growers in the region.
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