Pest incidence in tea gardens can be brought down by an eco-friendly approach, said experts at a seminar on pest management for tea plantations organised in Golaghat recently. The resource person was Dr Somnath Roy, who is at the helm of the Department of Entomology, Tocklai Tea Research.
The seminar was organised by North Eastern Tea Association (NETA).
In tea plantations, there is a wide spectrum of pests and diseases which need to be dealt with so that there is no crop loss. Moreover, pest management costs have spiralled over the years, and have become a burden for tea farmers.
Also, pests are getting immune and resistant to pesticides. Keeping that in mind, it was found that Integrated Pest Management (IPM) along with Integrated Nutrition Management (INM) is the way forward for the sustainability of tea plantations.
Healthy plants are always less susceptible to pests infestation. A healthy plant can be produced only on healthy soil. Therefore, focusing on the improvement of soil health is a major outcome of the seminar. The use of Indigenous Technical Knowledge (ITK) is also discussed at length in the seminar. Locally available trees and vegetation like Maha Neem, Ghora Neem, Dhopat Tita, Khorapat etc have anti-insect properties. Also, cow urine diluted with water is effective in controlling some pests and acts as a growth promoter of crops. Botanicals fermented in cow urine also help in controlling pests.
“Less use of pesticides, rejuvenation of soil health, adopt more ecological practices, creating an environment for natural predators to survive, planting of some fruit trees, growing of some variety of flowers, use of some vegetation and flowers as natural barriers against pests and proper implementation of cultural methods were key takeaways from the seminar,” said Bidyananda Barkakoty, Adviser, NETA.
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