23rd September 2022, Poonachi Village, Erode
Being an industrial and food crop, the Tapioca (also called as Cassava) has a vast scope for area expansion and employment generation in Tamil Nadu. However, the recently invaded cassava mealybug, Phenacoccus manihoti threatens the livelihood of tapioca farmers. To tackle the current situation, ICAR-National Bureau of Agricultural Resources, Bengaluru has imported a parasitoid wasp, Anagyrus lopezi from IITA, Republic of Benin, West Africa as per Government of India guidelines during August 2021.
The first field release programme of the parasitoids and its distribution to the cassava farmers were organized by ICAR-NBAIR at Yethapur, Salem district of Tamil Nadu on 7 March 2022. About 300 tapioca farmers from six districts of Tamil Nadu attended the mega event. The second such release-cum-awareness programme by ICAR-NBAIR was conducted at KVK, Namakkal, Tamil Nadu on 23 April 2022. Field recovery studies indicated that, the released parasitoids were well established in the released sites and continue to suppress the cassava mealybug population efficiently.
ICAR-NBAIR organized third Farmers training-cum-awareness programme on classical biological control of cassava mealybug today at the premises of SPAC-Starch Products India Pvt. Ltd., Poonachi village, Erode district of Tamil Nadu.
Dr S.N. Sushil, Director, ICAR - NBAIR distributed the parasitoids to the farmers.
More than 200 tapioca growing farmers attended and benefitted from the programme. Senior officials and experts from TNAU, Coimbatore, ARS, Bhavanisagar, Central IPM Centre, Government of India (GoI), State Departments of Horticulture and Agriculture graced the event.
(Source: ICAR-National Bureau of Agricultural Resources, Bengaluru)