New York, Jan 23 IANS | 9 months ago

A natural pest-control plan from US-based Virginia Tech that halted the papaya mealybug - that created havoc in southern India causing mold and stunted growth of several crops - has saved up to USD 309 million in the first year itself.

For a relatively modest cost of $200,000 during the first year of the intervention, financial loss that would have crossed $1.34 billion over five years has been prevented, said researchers from Virginia Tech.

Led by an Indian-origin crop scientist Rangaswamy 'Muni' Muniappan, the Virginia Tech team first discovered this devastating papaya pest - called paracoccus marginatus - in India in 2008 and devised a natural way to combat it.

"India's first efforts to eradicate the papaya mealybug failed," said Muniappan, who heads Virginia Tech's integrated pest management innovation lab programme.

"The government and farmers tried spraying pesticides but crop losses kept getting larger. It was clear to us that this was a case not for poisons but for natural, biological controls," he said in a paper published in the journal Crop Protection.

The winning intervention was based on three natural enemies of the mealybug - three parasitic wasps imported from Puerto Rico, Mexico, in July 2010.

The wasp lays its eggs inside the mealybug larvae, and when the eggs hatch, the young wasps eat the larvae.

Excellent control of the papaya mealybug was obtained within five months, pesticide usage was reduced, and production and income were increased, said the research.

"I'm happy to hear that Virginia Tech scientists conducted an economic analysis. That is so often missing in biological-control projects," said Marjorie A. Hoy, a University of Florida entomologist.

The problems began in 2006 when farmers in Tamil Nadu reported that a new pest was affecting papaya.

Numerous applications of insecticide were made but papaya losses were severe and the pest spread to several other crops.

The pest was identified as the papaya mealybug and a classical biological control programme was initiated.

(Posted on 23-01-2014)

Share This Page:

Post your comments

Information on States of India:

Andaman Nicobar | Andhra Pradesh | Arunachal Pradesh | Assam | Bihar | Chandigarh | Chhattisgarh | Dadar Nagar Haveli | Daman Diu | Delhi | Goa | Gujarat | Haryana | Himachal Pradesh | Jammu Kashmir | Jharkhand | Karnataka | Kerala | Lakshadweep | Madhya Pradesh | Maharashtra | Manipur | Meghalaya | Mizoram | Nagaland | Orissa | Pondicherry | Punjab | Rajasthan | Sikkim | Tamil Nadu | Tripura | Uttar Pradesh | Uttaranchal | West Bengal


Andhra Pradesh Travel Map | Bihar Travel Map | Goa Travel Map | Gujarat Travel Map | Haryana Travel Map | Himachal Pradesh Map | Karnataka Travel Map | Kerala Travel Map | Maharashtra Travel Map | Punjab Travel Map | Rajasthan Travel Map | Sikkim Travel Map | Tamil Nadu Travel Map | Uttar Pradesh Travel Map | West Bengal Travel Map |


Alappuzha | Ernakulam | Idukki | Kannur | Kasaragod | Kollam | Kottayam | Kozhikode | Malappuram | Palakkad | Pathanamthitta | Thiruvananthapuram | Thrissur | Wayanad |


Airports of India | Districts of India | India Pilgrim Centers | Tourism Map of India | National Highways in India | India Railway Routes |


Ahmadabad | Bangalore | Chennai | Coimbatore | Delhi | Hyderabad/Secunderabad | Kochi | Kolkata | Mumbai | Pondicherry | Pune | Surat |