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Kerala banana plantations' bio pest control

In the Indian state of Kerala, farmers are trialing the use of biological pest control in their banana plantations. The Agriculture Department at Vadakarapathy is promoting the use of elma pathogenic nematodes to fight pests attacking banana leaves and fruits.

The nematodes are harmless to human beings and they can ensure organic cultivation, says Gavas Ragesh, agriculture scientist at the Banana Research Centre of Kerala Agricultural University at Kannara, who developed the nematodes.

Mr. Gavas and his team started applying elma pathogenic nematodes in the banana plantation of farmer Shanmughan at Vadakarapathy on Wednesday 3 February. Panchayat president Kuzhanthair Teresa inaugurated the initiative.

Agriculture Department Assistant Director Gireesh Kumar, who was present on the occasion, said the bio-alternative would be promoted widely among farmers in the State as a priority.

Mr. Gavas said the nematodes were developed through intensive research. They can be released on five month old banana plants and will fight and kill pests. The nematodes also can be applied on sugarcanes, coconut trees, cardamom fields and cashew plantations.


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