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Integrated Management Pest And Nutrition Good For Tea Plantations: Experts

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GUWAHATI, July 27 (IANS): Integrated Pest Management (IPM), along with Integrated Nutrition Management (INM), is the way forward for sustainability of tea plantations, experts suggested.
Eastern Assam’s Jorhat based Tocklai Tea Research Institute’s Department of Entomology in-charge Dr Somnath Roy said that in tea plantations there are a wide spectrum of pests and diseases which needs to be dealt effectively so that there is no crop loss.
Roy, while addressing a seminar here on Tuesday on IPM to effectively control the pests and diseases in tea plantations, said that cost of pest management has been spiralling over the years and is 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 sustainability of tea plantations,” he said.
Noting that healthy plants are always less susceptible to pests infestation, Roy said that healthy plants can be produced only on healthy soil. Therefore, focus on improvement of soil health is a major outcome of the seminar, which also discussed the use of indigenous technical knowledge. According to the experts of 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.” North Eastern Tea Association (NETA), a 40-years old tea producers’ body, has organised the seminar. A NETA adviser Bidyananda Barkakoty said that according to the experts of the seminar 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.
The experts in the seminar have suggested that by adopting an eco-friendly approach, the negative effect of pests can be reduced substantially. Assam, which produces roughly 55 per cent of India’s tea, has around 850 big tea estates. Besides, there are lakhs of small tea gardens owned by individuals.

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