Coffee districts of Karnataka — Kodagu, Chikkamagalur and Hassan are ‘Pest Affected Areas’ for 5 years: State government

Coffee White Stem Borer (CWSB) continues to spread in the country’s key coffee growing regions of Kodagu, Chikmagaluru and Hassan, the Karnataka government has declared these three districts “Pest Affected Areas”.The state government’s decision is based on recommendations of the Central Coffee Research Institute (CCRI), Coffee Board.

In the notification, it said the movement of plant, soil or manure affected by the white stem borer is being prohibited in a bid to control the spread of the pest, which mainly infests the arabica variety of coffee plants.

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This pest, according to CCRI, is a very tough one to handle because once it gains entry into the coffee plant stem, it becomes very difficult to control it through any plant protection sprays.

“Considering the frequent flare-ups of the CWSB in recent years, it is felt necessary to issue fresh notification invoking the provisions of the Karnataka Agricultural Pests & Diseases Act, 1968,” a statement from Coffee Board on Tuesday said.

“The CCRI is also cliamed that its been issuing integrated pest management strategy with updated control measures from time to time. But coffee planters have failed in adoption of recommended interventions due to shortage of skilled work force,due to non-adoption of timely phyto-sanitary measures,due to erratic weather caused by climate change due all this reasons the CWSB pest continues to be a major threat for Arabica coffee cultivation, especially in the coffee-growing districts of Karnataka.”

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During summer, with excess heat, the CWSB lays eggs and hatches. One insect can lay up to a whopping 200 eggs, which spells out how quickly the pest can spread. The only measure for the time being is to burn the affected crop.

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