A team of researchers in Kasaragod has found Eriophyid mite, which damages amaranthus (red cheera), a common leafy vegetable cultivated all over the country.
About the Eriophyid mite infestation
- Eriophyid mites were reported in Tanzania in 1992, it is the first report of the mite infestation in amaranth in the country.
- The mite causes severe malformation of the shoot, making it fibrous and reducing the yield.
- The extensive cultivation of amaranth was a common in the coastal areas of Kanhangad in Kasaragod district from October to the second week of June.
- These plants showed crinkling deformity and malformation of tender leaves, a severe reduction in the leaf size and stunting.
- Besides, farmers also found difficulty in harvesting.
- As a result, the number of periodical tender shoot harvests from April to June was reduced by 50 per cent.
- The farmers were severely affected as the produce fetched a very low price. He said an observation trial to contain the pest immediately after a harvest reduced the mite damage symptoms almost completely for at least 15 days when the new shoots would be ready for the next harvest, he claimed.
- It is a cosmopolitan genus of annual or short-lived perennial plants collectively known as amaranths.
- Some amaranth species are cultivated as leaf vegetables, pseudocereals, and ornamental plants.
- Most of the Amaranthus species are summer annual weeds and are commonly referred to as pigweeds.