JORHAT, March 3 - To protect the green leaves from the pernicious attacks of pest-looper caterpillars at most of the tea gardens across the State, two new insecticides have been recently approved by the Central Insecticides Board (CIB) which were scientifically screened by a group of researchers of Tea Research Association (TRA) for four years since 2009 to 2012.
The TRA�s research found that Flubendiamide and Emamectin Benzoate were very effective pesticides to control the devastating pests in the gardens. The TRA is following the Tea Board of India�s Plant Protection Code (PPC) to produce healthy tea through judicious use of chemicals in plantation and pest-management.
The team of researchers, led by the then Chief Advisory Officer (West Bengal) of TRA Dr Sunil Kumar Pathak as the principal investigator, scientifically proved that both the pesticides could easily control the pest-looper caterpillars, like hyposidra talaca.
As the Tea Board of India�s PPC directive strictly restricts the use of many hazardous chemical insecticides since last year, planters are facing serious problems in controlling the pests that damage green leaves since the period of budding in hundreds of gardens across the length and breadth of the State.
Sharing their worries, many planters said that since the PPC was imposed in 2015, neither could they find an �effective pesticides of permissible quality in the markets� nor could use many of the chemical pesticides, which they applied earlier for pest-management in the gardens.
The managers of many gardens in Jorhat and Sivasagar districts reported that they had lost 10 to 15 percent of total crop due to attacks by pests in their respective gardens in 2015, though the climatic condition, including the amount of rainfall, was favourable.
Asked about the effectiveness of the two recently-approved pesticides, Dr Pathak said that they would �definitely solve the problems of pest-looper caterpillars� in the tea gardens. �Since the past few years, the pests caused serious problems in our gardens across the State. The two pesticides, approved by CIB recently, have brought relief to the planters,� said Dr Pathak, who is now working as the Chief Scientist and Deputy Director (ASA) of TRA�s Toklai Tea Research Institute in Jorhat.
The research was sponsored by the Tea Board of India under the 11th Plan and the research was conducted at the TRA�s North Bengal Regional Research and Development Centre, he said.