Tirupur district stands second in the acreage under coconut in Tamil Nadu. However, farmers need to thwart many a problems like insect attacks in their attempts to retain that position. Though Tirupur district still holds the second largest acreage under coconut among all districts in the State, the coconut farmers here are facing many a hurdles to maintain that position. One among the main predicaments that hangs like a Damocles sword over their farming profession is the attack of Red Palm Weevils, an insect which poses a threat to the life of the trees. The Weevils lay eggs into the coconut trees where larvae grow and fully destroy the structure of the palms, tell the farmers. Presently, coconut is cultivated on 56,823 hectares in the district.
To help the agrarian community combat the Weevils attack, the Department of Agriculture is all set to start distribution of insect traps at subsidised rates. “We will be utilising Rs. 20 lakh from the corpus created under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana to subsidise the cost of the traps that are going to be distributed to the farmers in the insect prone area,” Joint Director of Agriculture A. Mahendran told The Hindu . The traps, along with the baits to lure the insects to the gadgets, will be given away at the rate of five units per hectare to farmers in select blocks namely Pongalur, Dharapuram, Udumalpet, Kundadam, Kangayam, Madathukulam, Palladam and Gudimangalam, where the presence of Red Palm Weevils have been noticed. “Peculiarity of the Weevil attack is that the farmers mostly will come to know of the infestation only after the tree dies. So, putting pest traps in advance in the Weevils prone area can prevent the mortality of trees,” pointed out Mr. Mahendran.
The agriculture officials also recommend the application of 10 ml of monocrotophos diluted in equal quantity of water to the roots of the trees if already insect had taken position at the top.
“This ‘root feeding’ will kill any larvae present which can later suck out the tissues in the tree trunk,” said the official. Agriculture Department to distribute insect traps at subsidised rates