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No input on leaf borer attack irks Ranipet farmers

There seems to be truth in this complaint as when DT Next spoke to the local agriculture AD Shanmugam, the latter said the issue had not come to his knowledge.

No input on leaf borer attack irks Ranipet farmers
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Agricultural land

RANIPET: Nearly 100 acres of newly transplanted paddy seedlings in Siruvalayam and Preuvalayam revenue villages in Nemili taluk have been affected by leaf borer pest (called paen in local parlance), but the farmers are more irked by official lack of information on it than the pest attack.

“All transplanted seedlings have been affected by this problem, which means we will have to spend up to Rs 1,500 per acre to spray pesticide,” said local farmer Muruganandam. Farmers are not sore that they would be forced to spend additional money to save the ensuing crop, but annoyed that AAOs (assistant agricultural officers) who need to visit the villages to give inputs on saving crop are not coming regularly.

The AAOs work is to interact with farmers and provide them inputs on such issues, but they rarely visit villages. “If they had been regular in visiting villages, the issue would have reached top department officials in the district days ago,” said another farmer not wishing to be named.

There seems to be truth in this complaint as when DT Next spoke to the local agriculture AD Shanmugam, the latter said the issue had not come to his knowledge. “I will visit the affected areas and provide affected farmers with the proper disease management practices,” he told this reporter.

“With drones not being available for aerial spraying we will have to switch over to manual spraying which will consume additional time,” said Tamilaga Vivasayigal Sangam Ranipet district president CS Mani. Though pesticides are freely available, most fertilizer shops witnessed sizeable crowds due to the demand for immediate sale of this product.

As the news of the malaise spread, farmers who were awaiting arrival of migrant labour to start transplantation preferred to take a chance and continue with transplantation. But, the farmers demand to know why the department failed to alert them at the nursery stage itself.

Kaveripakkam AD Shanmugam said that reports of pest infestation was true and fixed plots of 1 square metre had been set up in the affected fields. Also, pest management would be taught to farmers from Wednesday, he added.

Tharian Mathew
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