Feb 13, 2019

Caterpillar threats to worsen in the future? Featured

Sri Lanka will make global headlines in the future due to caterpillar led crop disasters, reports say.

Speaking at a media briefing recently, environmentalist Thilak Kandegama, who largely contributed during the recent attack of the Fall Army worm or the 'Sena' caterpillar, said that the present decline of this outbreak is not due to efforts of the Agriculture department but rather due to the turn of the caterpillar's natural cycle.

"What the Agriculture department have never understood is, all insects have a season... a cycle. The best example is the rural saying 'Samanallu Siripade Yanawa '(flocks of butterflies flying to pay homage to Sri Pada). They all have seasons. Likewise, this caterpillar will lie dormant for some time and break out suddenly, worse than ever. When they lie dormant, everyone thinks it is over. But really, it is not over."

"The Agriculture department can take more measures. There are many varieties of Maize. There are no reports of the 'Sena' caterpillar attacking local varieties. Therefore, a programme must be initiated to distribute seeds of local varieties. In addition, short term crops like sesame should be planted in between. These crops will nurture insects which counter the 'Sena' caterpillar. But such measures are not taken. The Agriculture department is boasting that they won the battle. The reality would be quite different when the 'Sena' caterpillar re-emerges stronger than ever," he added.

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