The bountiful rains in the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra have also brought in its share misery to the farmers with crops such as Moong, Urad and Toor dal facing pests attacks leading to major crop losses.

Vidarbha is located in eastern Maharashtra, and it borders Madhya Pradesh in the north and Chhattisgarh in the east.

In Akola district alone almost 90 per cent of the moong (green gram) crop planted over 21,989 hectares have been lost due to attacks by sucking pests and plant viruses. The sucking pests bore holes in the plant, which makes it vulnerable to secondary infections by viruses. Urad has also been planted over 15,383 hectares with about 40 per cent crop losses.

Farmer Vilas Tathod from Talegaon Wadner village in Telhara taluka in Akola said that his moong crop planted over three-acre farmland had been completely destroyed due to attacks by a sucking pest, which in local parlance is called Bhendya. Similar attacks have also been reported on urad in the neighbouring villages. If a farmer pays good attention to his farm, then he can get about 300 to 500 kg of moong per acre. But the attack is so severe that not even 5 kg has been harvested. Despite four pesticide sprays the crop could not be saved, plus the local agriculture university at Akola city has no answers to our problems, he said.

Sucking pests are insects, which feed on the plant sap and in the process it also makes the plant vulnerable to mosaic virus attack.

Framer Lalait Bhale from Akoli Jahangir village near Akot town in Akola district said that this year rainfall has been continuous and without a break. The rains made the underdeveloped village roads with surrounding black cotton soil very slimy and almost impossible to drive. In such conditions, the farmers could not reach their fields and even harvest the crops, which made the crops further vulnerable to the attacks.

A government official said the farmers could not access their fields due to water inundation resulting in crop damage. Pests are voracious eaters and to control them the pesticide sprays should be made on time. This Kharif season moong and urad are almost written off in Vidarbha and only toor dal, which is a longer gestation crop is being saved.



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