Saturday 10 December 2011

Squirrel, Pest of Coconut: Result of Change in Ecosystem.

    Pest is the word people would like to associate with insects and pathogens which inflicts damages to the crop plants and storage products etc.
   When a species known for its hormonal existence is cause of concern then there is certain thing that is to be examined in relation to present states of condition.
   Squirrel is known to forage on forest products like nuts, fruit and resins etc. Squirrel a small tree dweller used to be found abundantly in the forest and village areas of Tripura. It was never considered to be a reason of headache by the people until ten years ago.
   But, till recently it has posed to be a great menace by the coconut growers of the state. Coconut is the new victim of squirrel in Tripura. Squirrel attacks matured coconut causing huge damage to the growers.
   The emergence of squirrel as pest to the coconut in the village area is new to the villagers for they never had that experience that squirrel could be the nuisance for them. Earlier it is used to be in the town area that some news of attack or damage by the squirrel to the coconut was heard.
   Now the squirrel is causing widespread damage to the coconut growers in the villages. Whatever may be the size of coconut plantation but production level has come down drastically due to Squirrel.
   Villagers, farmers are finding difficulties to control or manage the problem of squirrel due to lack of effective control measure as the squirrel is tree dwellers it is very difficulty with cage system of trapping that used to be employed for managing the rat menace.
    Forest coverage depletion in the area is the main cause for emergence of squirrel and their attack on the homestead plants and crops.
     Depletion of natural forest and emergence of Rubber plantation has brought out many changes in terms of host plants of different insect and mammal, this has resulted in wipe out of many species and in the same time some species have emerged as pest to useful crops of the people.
    Species which could withhold the changes in the natural ecosystem and habitation have to find out and depend on alternate host plants for existence and it is crop plants that has come their rescue. Their dependence or sole dependence have resulted in significant economical loss to the crop plants and emerged as new crop pests.
    Natural imbalance, it is the case that has been happening constantly every where, people in the pursuit for betterment and comfort knowingly or unknowingly intervene and influence on the natural ecosystem. When ecosystem is disturbed, the whole systems get affected.
    The present scenario invites many more species to emerge as pest to the mankind and reasons for such emergence may be many but change of ecosystem and natural imbalance are surely the influencing factors that have been acting as compelling grounds.
    Squirrel is just one example only; it however sheds the light of other side of picture that is to be taken into consideration in our endeavor for better future. Continuance in suppression would bring more conflict with Mother Nature and result for which would be highly hostile for our future generation.
    Agritangkol dated 24.11.2011 at 09.30 A.M

Thursday 8 December 2011

Bird Flu the Avian Influenza: In the Closer Periphery of Attack.

     Recent media reports indicated that Bird Flu, the Avian Influenza has struck again in West Bengal, Assam and neighboring Bangladesh.
    In the middle of the September, 2011 there was mass killing of fowls in one district of West Bengal due to Bird Flu Virus but after couple of month’s times, it has again reappeared in these regions. This is indicative that the Bird Flu Virus remains in the regions and not disappeared.
   The State Government in Animal Resource Development Department has already restricted the movement of poultry products from West Bengal, Assam and porous Indo-Bangladesh border has been sealed to prevent the entry of poultry products from neighboring Bangladesh.
   It has become apparent that the deadly virus could not be controlled; it is only the temporarily managing the situation through culling of infected birds, vaccines etc. the Virus is stated to be acquiring more virulence with the evolution of new mutant strain.
   As the Bird Flu Virus has invaded the neighboring Bangladesh, so it has already reached to the closest periphery of one of the most sensitive zones as far as the Tripura state is concerned. Though, the entry of poultry product may be controlled or prevented, but there are many elements that can hardly be controlled directly by the manmade obstruction and intervention.
    The migratory birds which at this season are plenty in Tripura could be carrier of this deadly Virus for spread of Bird Flu Virus in this state.
    Now the best we can do is keeping vigilant the movement of the poultry products and migratory birds; in addition poultry farm owners have to be extra cautious for contamination through any external factors.
  Similarly, hens and ducks of villages should be strictly monitored to avoid any untoward incident that could take place in the absence of careful mind.
   Agritangkol dated: 22/11/2011 at 6.00P.M

Tuesday 6 December 2011

Coconut: It is not the Homestead Palm.


    Coconut is a widely known plantation crop of India and it is found in almost all parts of India. Coconut has historical significance and it is also known as Kalpataru, due to its wide usage starting from; kernel to coir, every part of the coconut is usable.
   Copra is one of the value added product obtained after drying up of excess water from the kernel. Copra yields more oil compare to non-dried or fresh kernel. Copra sales in higher prices compare to fresh nut. Tender coconut is famous for its rejuvenating water and it is quite popular during summer season.
  Coconut has lots of industrial usage especially in toiletry industries for hair oil and many other products. In addition, coconut oil is also used as edible oil in south India.
One of the subsidiary sectors that come up around coconut growing belts is Coir industry; states like Kerala and Tamil Nadu have well set up coir based industries utilizing the coconut by products.

Major Coconut growing belts of India

  In India, southern states have the distinction to produce maximum coconut due to large scale plantation of coconut. The farmers from states like Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh are expert in growing Coconut in large and economic scale.
  In south India, coconut and areca nut plantation is inter cropped with cocoa another profitable crop very successfully for increasing the farm income.

Coconut cultivation in Tripura

   Tripura is suitable for coconut cultivation due to suitable climatic condition. For successful cultivation and growth of coconut palm, required rainfall and temperature prevails in the state.
     In Tripura coconut is highly acceptable and adored by all due to its different usages. Coconut palm could be found in almost all house holds of Tripura.
    It is unfortunate that coconut, one of the important profitable crops is not cultivated in large scale in Tripura. It is mystified in the homestead land only for meeting the family requirement.
    This trend has never given any economic viability to the growers and the crop remains in the subsistence mode.

Scope for expansion

     People of the state are well aware of the coconut and its importance. People of the state are also well aware of the techniques of coconut cultivation and maintenance of coconut palm.
   But, what they fail to realize its Economic viability and profitability from coconut plantation. The reason is simple; they never ever felt the need to go for large scale plantation and taste the economic viability and profitability. Moreover, the knowledge of inter crop may be developed in the mind of people of Tripura.
    The department of agriculture has been constantly pursuing to spread the coconut plantation in the state and in that drive they supply coconut seedlings to the farmers but coconut plantation is yet come up in unit scale in Tripura.
    Since the crop is cultivated in almost all homestead land of a family, there is no cry for demands. It is during the festival seasons; there are demands for coconut by the people of the state.
     Coconut could be the next wonder crop in Tripura and it needs to be the requirement being the right approach with right mindset. The right mind set is expected with good and exemplary works by the concerned department.
    People have the knowledge, they have to be shown the door of further progress and it is possible with effective training and exposure.

   Agritangkol dated 22.11.2011 at 7.00 P.M

Sunday 4 December 2011

Knowledge of Pesticides: Follow and Practice

     There is hardly anything new to mention that in every pesticide container/packets/pouch, details cover illustrating every aspects of toxicity of this particular chemical on human body and other animals have been written along with corrective measures to follow.
    In addition, a diamond shaped symbol with red, green etc is also prominently mentioned to express the level of toxicity of a particular pesticide, this is especially for illiterate handler and easy to identify by anyone.
   There is also mention of whether the particular pesticide belongs to systemic or contact pesticides. Do the farmers have the knowledge of these pesticides and their mode of actions?
    Have anybody wondered that the label on the cover of the pesticides packets, container denoting the user guideline and toxicity level of particular pesticides hardly been read or followed?
     This is something like Doctor prescribes medicines, we get it from medicines store and takes for relieve. There is no point of argument or consultation where healing is the question.
   Now coming back to the knowledge of pesticides; do the farmers ever felt the good and bad of particular pesticides?
  Farmers feel good when pesticides effectively kill or control the pest. Bad; it is when particular pesticides fail to deliver to the expectation of the farmers. In between of these, there is hardly anything that matters to the farmers.

   Mere knowledge of pesticides will not help; a drive for creating mass awareness to the farming community is must for maintaining safety and producing healthy farm produce.