Bugging incursions

Published: Thursday 15 August 2002

-- Many new pest varieties are sneaking into India. To prevent this, a quarantine bill draft is under consideration of the Union ministry for agriculture. Even though the quarantine stations have checked the entry of some diseases, many pests are believed to have made their way into the country due to inadequate testing and detection facilities. Among these are the potato wart nematode, the potato cyst nematode, banana bunchy top and mosaic viruses, coding moth, apple scab and the coffee berry borer. Two recent additions to the list of foreign pests in India include the American serpentine leaf miner and the spiralling white fly.

Deputy director of the regional plant quarantine station in Chennai O R Reddy warns that since a new pest faces very little resistance initially, it multiplies fast leading to a greater use of control agents. This means that the produce becomes less competitive in the international market. Therefore, the major concern today is detecting pests in imports.

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