Andhra Pradesh Business

Thrips infestation threatens chilli produce in 12K hectares in Prathipadu, Chilakaluripet

GUNTUR: Chilli growers in Guntur are facing a major bug problem, which is likely to cost many a loss of Rs 1 lakh per acre, horticulture officials said. Thrips have infested about 12,000 hectares of the crop, damaging its flower and fruit, in Prathipadu and Chilakaluripet mandals in just three weeks. With little options left, many farmers have already removed the crop so as to stop their other crops from getting infested.

BJ Benny, assistant director-Horticulture said due to lack of proper knowledge the farmers were unable to identify the pest symptoms early, and that excessive usage of pesticides is also the reason for the widespread pest infestation.

“Compared to the last year, the harvesting of chilli increased by 40,000 hectares to 1.10 lakh hectares this season. So the risk of the spread of the infection is also high. Thrips infestation is also due to the excessive usage of pesticides, not ascribing to the prescribed measures and neglecting the crop rotation,” Benny added.

“We are conducting special awareness campaigns and regular field visits to assess the damage and give necessary instructions to the farmers based on the suggestions by the scientists of Dr YSR Horticulture University. Horticulture officials will be visiting each village in the affected area once every four days and analyse the situation,” he said.