Sena threatens to destroy over 100 crops over the island

Sena threatens to destroy over 100 crops over the island

Sena threatens to destroy over 100 crops over the island

Written by Staff Writer

16 Jan, 2019 | 1:02 pm

COLOMBO (News 1st) – The Sena caterpillar was first discovered last October, in a corn field in the Ampara district, and has since spread to the Monaragala, Kurunegala, and Anuradhapura districts, as well as to the Galle and Matara districts. Nearly 40,000 hectares of corn cultivation across the country has already been destroyed due to this caterpillar infestation.

It is evident in the Galle and Matara districts that the infestation has spread into other crops as well including Green Gram, millet as well as the paddy cultivation.

Commenting on the matter, Head of the research division of the Department of Agriculture, Anura Wijethunge noted that the caterpillar could devour more than 100 plant species including corn. He continued to say that this is possibly a threat to food production for all parts of the country. Wijethunge added that to date, countries that were affected by the Sena caterpillar species, have failed to find any solution to mitigate the issue.

Gammadda that took the initiative to find a solution for this national issue will travel to these districts that are severely affected along with the research teams of agriculture faculty of the University of Peradeniya. Three research teams are currently gathering data in the Moneragala, Ampara and Anuradhapura Districts. This research is being carried out in a bid to collect accurate information about the infestation.

The farmers of these infected areas informed News 1st that they are facing a lot of difficulties due to this infestation. The farmers also noted that the Rs. 5000 that they receive as compensation for a complete acre that is destroyed does not even suffice to pay for the tractor that they use of cultivation.

Meanwhile, the Department of Agriculture is to launch an island-wide program today (January 16) to educate farmers on the caterpillar menace known as Sena.

Director General of Agriculture Dr. WMW Weerakoon said that the program will be conducted until the 31st, in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture, Agrarian Development and the Mahaweli Authority.

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