The incidence of the disease was lower in other major Arabica coffee producing areas of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Non-Traditional Areas.
Several steps have been initiated to address the problem of pest in coffee cultivation. The government has approved a two-year Action Plan (2014-15 and 2015-16) for combating the stem borer in affected areas. Various steps have been taken to eliminate the disease, including support for gap filling, raising coffee seedlings by growers SHGs/ collectives, supply of pheromone traps at subsidised rates, and a Mission Mode approach for enhanced education, training and demonstration on stem borer control measures.
According to Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman in a written reply in Lok Sabha on Friday stem borer pest was amongst the major constraints affecting cultivation of Arabica variety of coffee. The combined effects of higher temperatures, reduction of shade for increasing the yield of pepper grown as intercrop and lack of timely control measures by the growers have led to increase in the incidence of the pest, said a note issued by the Press Information Bureau.
The Indian Council of Agricultural Research has included coffee White Stem Borer (WSB) as one of the components in its mega project namely, ‘Consortium Research Programme on Insect Borers’ for implementation during 12th Five year Plan. The Coffee Board has supported a collaborative research project titled ‘Studies on Female Pheromone plant Kairomone on coffee WSB’ with a view to improve the efficiency of trapping of adult beetles, she said.
Department of Bio-technology has been implementing a project through the Central Coffee Research Institute, University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad, and a private laboratory on bio-technological approaches to identify potential Bt toxins against coffee stem borer, Ms Sitharaman said.