A team of experts from Agricultural College and Research Institute, Killikulam, trained farmers of the district in eco-friendly management of pests and diseases in horticultural crops on Sunday.
As a two-day seminar on ‘Horticultural Technologies’ was organised by the Department of Horticulture here on Saturday and Sunday, a few hundred farmers from various parts of the district visited the stalls to understand the latest technologies being used to ensure better harvest.
On the second day of the event, training in eco-friendly management of pests and diseases in fruits and vegetable crops was imparted to the farmers.
In his address, T. Abdul Razak, Professor of Entomology, Agricultural College and Research Institute, Killikulam, said insect pests such as sap-sucking pests, leaf-eating caterpillars and stem borers were causing significant loss to the farmers cultivating fruits and vegetables.
Sucking pests such as white flies, leaf hoppers and aphids were highly dangerous as they could spread virus diseases among healthy plants.
“The farmers usually go for indiscriminate use of toxic chemical insecticides for controlling these pests in their crops, which paves way for environmental pollution and accumulation of toxic pesticidal residues in fruits and vegetables. In order to reduce the pesticide load in the environment, eco-friendly management practices such as use of natural enemies, insect pathogens and botanical pesticides like neem should be encouraged among the farmers,” he said.
Egg parasitoids, such as Trichogramma, was found to yield promising results in destroying harmful pests at the egg stage itself.
Professor Abdul Razak explained the use of pheromone traps, yellow sticky traps, and trap crops as the low-cost eco-friendly tools that could be included in the integrated pest management programme in horticultural crops.About 200 farmers from the district participated in the training program me.