TEA NEWS: TRA to introduce eco-friendly pest management for tea gardens

TEA NEWS: TRA to introduce eco-friendly pest management for tea gardens – but when, secret still under research and not yet revealed ?!!

Tea pickers in the Dooars - mosquito resistant ?!!

From The Statesman
By Manas R Bannerjee

SILIGURI, 28 JULY 2010 (SNS): In order to curb the Helopeltis (Tea Mosquito Bug) menace in tea plantations, spread over the northeastern region and north Bengal, the Tocklai Experimental Station at Jorhat in Assam is busy researching to find out eco-friendly pest management.

The advisory officers of the Tea Research Association (TRA) took up the work in response to the complaints from the tea planters who keep incurring losses in tea production.

According to the TRA officials, the production keeps alarmingly dwindling due to the menace, particularly in Margarita in upper Assam on the bank of the Brahmaputra, and also some tea plantation spread over Terai and Dooars in north Bengal.

Dr S Baisya, the advisory officer of the TRA at Bangdubi in Siliguri, said: “The portents are disturbing and we apprehend further slump in the tea production in the entire tea belt. The situation in north Bengal is less alarming than upper Assam though,” he added.

“We are striving to find out alternative ways to tackle the menace so as to help the small tea planters who have been bearing the maximum brunt,” Dr Baisya added. The senior TRA officials ascribe the growing menace to heavy rains and want of sunlight. According to them, the task is proving tough owing to several reasons involved.

To compound the problem, the imperative of maintaining the ecological balance is coming in the way of eliminating the mosquitoes outright.

On the other hand, the tea planters are not inclined to use powerful chemicals and pesticides apprehending that the indiscriminate use of these anti-mosquito elements would tell upon the quality of tea apart from exposing the people to health hazards.

“Interestingly, the number of natural enemy is low for killing Helopeltis in the tea plantations. And these insects are very clever too. They are adept in protecting themselves from the spraying,” Dr Baisya added.

A Neem-based solution – anyone ever thought of a Cinchona-based solution ?!!

Quinine factory at Mungpoo - any layman knows mosquitoes hate Cinchona ?!!

From SpringerLink Journal
Communicated by B. Freier
30 October 2009

Despite continuous use of synthetic insecticides during last two decades, the tea mosquito bug, Helopeltis theivora Waterhouse (Miridae: Heteroptera), has become the most destructive sucking pest of tea in North East India.

In order to reduce the load of the synthetic chemicals in tea vis-à-vis their deleterious effect, integration of biopesticide, synthetic pesticides along with effective spraying strategies, have been attempted. The anti-insect property of “neem”, Azadirachta indica A. Juss. (Meliaceae), has been used to solve many pest problems. In this study, different azadirachtin concentrations were evaluated at different doses against the H. theivora to find out their controlling efficacy.

At 50,000 ppm azadirachtin concentration 65% control of infestation could be attained, whereas at 3,000 and 10,000 ppm, gave 30–43% reduction and 300 and 1,500 ppm <30% control was possible. Further in case of 3,000 and 10,000 ppm, azadirachtin concentration 30–43% reduction was registered.

Therefore, azadirachtin concentration and its dilutions are the major criteria for getting desired bioactivity. Treatments with combined formulations viz. “neem + endosulfan” or “neem + deltamethrin” recorded significant reduction in H. theivora incidence even at reduced doses, as compared to sole application of neem or synthetic insecticide at recommended doses.

Effective combinations and dose of the insecticides along with their formulations in controlling H. theivora have been presented and discussed.

MEANWHILE

MSTC wants to auction Assam, Darjeeling tea – a blessing in disguise, but can quality be verified ?!!

From Financial Express
By Rohit Khanna

Kolkata, Thursday, Jul 29, 2010 at 2311 hrs IST: Electronic auction mini-ratna PSU MSTC is looking to enter e-auction of Assam and Darjeeling tea. So far the company has been engaged in electronic auction of metal and coal.

The company has recently entered into an arrangement with the Coonoor-based Tea Serve for auctioning Nilgiri tea through electronic platform. In order to eliminate the shortcomings and deficiencies in the existing conventional auction centres, to ensure transparency in sale of tea through auction and to ensure better price to small tea growers, a new Electronic Tea Auction Centre at Coonoor under the cooperative fold called “Tea Serve” was set up.

With a good response from the e-auction at Coonoor, MSTC plans to take it forward by including Darjeeling and Assam tea.

“We will talk to the Tea Board for auctioning Darjeeling and Assam tea,” said SK Tripathi, managing director of MSTC. “We have been into electronic auction since 1996. So far we have not dealt with tea but we thought it is a good opportunity after we talked to Tea Serve,” he added. MSTC provides one of the major virtual marketplaces for domestic sellers and buyers to do business in ferrous and non-ferrous metal scrap, machinery, obsolete spares.

The mini-ratna company conducted the first trial auction for tea on July 14. “We conducted the second auction on Wednesday and we are hopeful that it will become popular,” Tripathi said. Nilgiri tea worth Rs 2 crore was sold in the first two auctions.

“We have been able to sell 40% of the lots through the e-auction platform on Wednesday,” he said.

Under the present setup, any buyer can bid from any terminal and does not need to go to the auction house physically. Buyers have unique identification numbers by which they will be able to bid from anywhere.

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