Vikash Sharma

It is summer season and people across Odisha are now eagerly waiting to relish delicious local varieties of mangoes, the king of fruits.

However, the mango growers in Dhenkanal district are worried about the red-banded mango caterpillar as their production is being affected this year.

The mango farmers in Sadar block, Odapada and Bimbal areas are a worried lot as initially the trees laden with flowers or 'manjar' had revived hopes of a good harvest this time. However, a lot of flowers wilted under weather conditions.

Now the red-banded mango caterpillar is creating problems as it is affecting the fruit at nascent stage. The pest menace has now assumed serious proportions.

Though the mango farmers had used a lot of pesticides as per the instructions of officials of the concerned department, it has failed to resolve their issues.

"The pest has affected mango crops a lot as they are having rapid growth," said  Biswajit Jena, a farmer.

Another farmer, Arjun Mohapatra said, "The red banded caterpillar is feasting on flowers as well as mango in the orchard at a much faster pace." 

It is pertinent to mention the farmers in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar had witnessed many problems due to such pest attacks two years back.

It is for the second time that the mango growers in Dhenkanal district are grappling with the same pest attack on several acres of land. As a result, a lot of farmers are not in a position to fulfil the demands of traders from other parts of the country.

As a lot of farmers have taken loans for mango cultivation, they are worried about how to repay the loan as they are now staring at crop loss due to the pest menace. They are demanding urgent measures on the part of the Odisha government as there is no provision for insurance. 

"The traders are calling us to provide mangoes. We do not have stock to provide them owing to such circumstances," said another farmer.
Gitashri Padhi, agriculture deputy director, Dhenkanal said, "There is a pesticide called Enacertin Benzoate. If it is used for three to four times with a week's gap, the larvae infection will go away."

It is pertinent to mention here that mangoes from Dhenkanal district are exported to several parts of the country including Delhi, Kolkata and even to Bangladesh and Dubai.

  • Reported by:
  • Rajashree Satpathy