White stem borer worries coffee growers

Growing white stem borer menace in Arabica coffee plantations of Malnad is likely to affect  coffee production. The borer disease has badly affected coffee plants in the region. 

At a time, when coffee is fetching good price in the market, white borer disease is causing nightmare to coffee growers in Mudigere taluk.

With this, there seems to be no end to the problems of coffee planters.

Change in weather and increase in temperature has taken a toll on Arabica coffee.

The stem-borer belongs to Xylotrechus quadripes group of insects. The female lays eggs in cracks of barks of the plants that are exposed to sunlight.

The young ones feed on the bark for about two months and later enter the hard wood. The ridges once formed remain on the plant for life.

Since the stem-borer increases its activity when exposed to the sun, the coffee plantations have been devastated.

The increase in temperature is conducive for the stem borer to survive.

Arabica coffee is grown on 45,000 hectare land in Makonahalli, Chikkalla, Thathkola, Bettadamane, Mathikatte and Baloor.

There was a notion that the stem borer insects attack only Kavery variety of Arabica. However, it is now seen in Chandragiri, Hemavathi varieties as well.

The growers are finding hard to control the disease affecting the plants.

A grower said “Arabica coffee does not require much water and fetches more price when compared to Robusta. We have been growing Arabica for the last several years.However, White stem borer disease has made us cry.  The stem-borer has wreaked havoc on my plantation.”

Balehonnur Coffee Research Board Entomologist Seetharam said “precautionary measures should be taken to contain the disease. The insects should be destroyed and the plantations should have shade to check the insects from laying eggs.”

The affected plants should be  uprooted and destroyed to check the spread of the  disease.

The growers have urged the Coffee Board and the government to come to the rescue of the coffee planters.

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