Pests play spoilsport in soyabean farms of Vidarbha in Maharashtra

By ANI
Sunday, August 2, 2009

NAGPUR - Soyabean farmers in Vidarbha region of Maharashtra are dejected, as the monsoon has not been favourable and besides that their crops have been attacked by semilooper pests.

Cotton, oranges and soyabean are the main cash crops of Vidarbha region, which borders the state of Madhya Pradesh to north, Chhattisgarh to east, Andhra Pradesh to south and Marathwada and Khandesh regions of Maharashtra in the west.

The farmers complain despite their prevailing condition there has been no help forthcoming from Government.

Farmers engaged in soyabean cultivation here are the worst hit since a pest known as semilooper worm has infested their fields, destroying the soyabean plants at random.

Fields treated with insecticides prior to bloom have had a higher risk of semilooper infestation. It is estimated that the semilooper worms have affected around 14,00,000 hectares of soyabean farms.

According to farmers, the government hasn’t provided any facilities to make sure that the farms are devoid of semiloopers as such the crop damage is going to remain the same like last year, which was nearly 40 to 50 percent.

“We sowed soyabean. Initially, there was no water, which damaged the crops. Half of the seeds we had sown did sprout and grow but semiloopers infested the plants. The Agricultural Department assured us of insecticides but we haven’t received any aid of that sort,” said Devrao Vitthal, a soyabean farmer.

The authorities, however, say that they are trying to provide farmers with insecticides and pesticides but farmers themselves need to regularly monitor them.

“Whenever we get any feedback of semilooper infestations or any other woes of the farmers then through our interactive links, papers, radio and different departments, we try to reach out to them,” said Dr. Dhanraj Unirvade, Agronomist with Dr. Panjabrao Agriculture University, Akola.

Due to sharp decline in cotton prices, farmers in Vidarbha have diversified to cultivation of edible oilseeds. But irregular monsoon showers and frequent attack by pests have become a major cause of concern for these farmers. By Sunil (ANI)

Filed under: India

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