Himalayan Fate, Chilli Pest Attack

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Kalka-Shimla highway in Himachal Pradesh՚s Solan district has been destroyed by mindless construction. Irish geologist in 1864. The current carbon dioxide concentration has surpassed the 400 parts per million (ppm) mark. Average temperatures have also risen by 1oC since the preindustrial era.

Himalayan Fate

The Himalayas are divided into four belts: outer Himalayas or Shivaliks (lowest in elevation) ; lower/lesser Himalayas, greater Himalayas; and the Tethyan parts. The lower Himalayas are not rich in fossils. The rocks here are old, dating back to a time when life was not abundant or diverse

The Tethyan part is also not a great fossil hunting site. The region was once home to shallow waters, which were not suitable for animals to find food

Chilli Pest Attack

A new black colored, pin head sized pest, black thrips (Thrips parvispinus) , has destroyed over 40 hectares (ha) of standing crop in a matter of months in Telangana and reduced the size from 7 to 10 cm to 5 cm for chilies

T parvispinusis, a member of the thrips group of sucking pests, is an invasive species from Southeast Asia that has been documented in different countries including Australia, Thailand and Greece. It causes more damage than S dorsalis, the thrips pest native to India.

By attacking the flowers and not just leaves, T parvispinusis removes any hope of the crop growing from it. The pest was first reported in India in 2017 when it destroyed papaya farms in Bengaluru, Karnataka

Why a Worrying Stance? First, the country is the world՚s largest producer, consumer and exporter of chillies and has 40 per cent of the world՚s area under the crop. Second, chilli cultivation requires huge investment ranging anywhere between ₹ 2.5 - 3 lakh per ha. In Telangana, most chilli farmers pay an additional ₹ 20,000 - 25,000 to take land on lease.

Warangal mandi is Asia՚s Second largest Chilli market.

A 2021 paper from scientists at the National Bureau of Agricultural Insect Resources, Bengaluru, recommends destroying infected crop fields to stop the spread of the pest to newer locations. It adds constant monitoring, microbial biopesticide-based management practices, such as the use of neem oil, pongamia oil, or soap solution in heavily infested sites, and judicious use of chemical insecticides as well as fertilizers.

Massive Spread

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