Indian Institute of Spices Research
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Parliament Questions
 
Pest & Diseases
Indian Institute of Spices Research
1) Whether the Union Government is aware that Black Ilaichi (large cardamom) in Sikkim is being infected by a disease for the last so many years resulting in damaging/destroying of large quantity of Black Ilaichi crop?
Ans) Yes. A letter on disease problem of large cardamom in Sikkim was addressed to the Dy. Director General (Hort.), ICAR, New Delhi with a copy marked to the Director, IISR, Calicut, Kerala vide letter No.194/Acc./t/Hort, dated 03-07-2003 by the Secretary, Department of Horticulture, Krishi Bhavan, Tadong- 737 102, Gangtok, Sikkim to depute a team of experts.

In response to this, a team of experts consisting of Dr. K.V. Ramana, Project Coordinator (Spices), IISR, Calicut, Dr. M.N. Venugopal, Principal Scientist, (Plant Pathology), IISR, CRC, Appangala and Dr. S. Devasahayam, Principal Scientist, (Entomology), IISR, Calicut, Dr. A.K. Singh, Principal Scientist & Head, (Plant Pathology), ICAR Research Complex, Barapani and Sri H.C. Singh, Joint Director, Department of Horticulture, Govt. of Sikkim were deputed to study the problem.
 
If, so, whether ICAR has conducted any research in this regard  
Ans) The Expert team visited the large cardamom plantations in Sikkim districts during 17-19 September 2003 to study the disease problems of large cardamom. Under ICAR, ICAR Research Complex, Regional Station, Sikkim is conducting research on large cardamom. Apart from this, Indian Cardamom Research Institute (Spices Board), Regional Station, Gangtok, Sikkim is also undertaking research on large cardamom.  
If so, the detail and outcome thereof  
Ans) The expert team has submitted the detailed report on "Problems in cultivation of large cardamom in Sikkim" including the management practices to be adopted against serious pests and diseases affecting large cardamom, to the Deptt. of Horticulture, Govt. of Sikkim during January 2004 (vide letter o. PMT/IISR/14(14)02 dated 20 February 2004).  
The preventive/corrective measures being taken to check this disease to enable the farmers to save their Black Ilaichi crops  
Ans) The Expert team in its report provided the preventive/corrective measures to be adopted to check the disease on large cardamom as short-range and long range programmes (vide letter No. PMT/IISR/14(14)02 dated 20 February 2004).
   
2) Whether the viral disease of pepper or stunted disease widely prevalent in black pepper plantations of Karnataka and Kerala is causing substantial loss to cultivators:  
Ans) Yes. It is more prevalent in Wyanad and Idukki districts of Kerala and Kodagu district of Karnataka. However, comprehensive studies on crop loss has not been conducted in various regions. In a few severely infested plantations upto 80% crop loss has been recorded.  
   
3) If so, the steps taken by the Government to help the farmers tackle this disease and overcome the financial loss.
Ans) The measures to be undertaken to manage the disease are being communicated to state Agricultural departments and other agencies including NGOs. As major spread of the disease is through use of infective planting material, IISR, Calicut has advised State Department to advise the farmers to avoid infected planting material. IISR Calicut has developed sensitive diagnostics for identification of disease free planting material.  
   
4) Whether Government are often stressing on diversification of crop production?
Ans) Yes, recommendation is based on study.  
   
5) Whether agro-produce worth Rs. 90,000 crores have lost due to pest, weeds and diseases last year as indicated by Chairman of the Agro-chemical Promotion Group.
Ans) The total loss due to pests and diseases especially by Phytophthora foot rot disease and pollu beetle in black pepper, the most important spice crop in India, for which information is available, is about Rs. 40 crores annually. Weed competition in black pepper, cardamom, nutmeg, cinnamon would not cause economic crop loss as they are relatively deep rooted crops.  
   
6) If so, the details of the other issues suggested by the Chairman to boost Agriculture and create awareness about the correct use of Agro-chemicals.
Ans) Agrochemicals for the control of major pests and diseases of spice crops are recommended to the farming community only after the pesticide residue limits are determined and are below the recommended levels. Correct use of pesticides is also explained to farmers during the training programmes conducted by the institute and also in off campus training programmes and farmers seminars. In case of ginger and turmeric, timely weed management is essential; if it is not done at appropriate time, yield loss occurs as high as 60%.