Pests attack popular Yongchak trees in Manipur village
Almost all Yongchak trees in Manipur’s Willong Khunou village have been infested with caterpillar-like pests, also known as looper, threatening the livelihood of many households. Both the flower and beans of Yongchak (Parkia Speciosa) are consumed, as is its pod. Yongchak Eromba or Singju, prepared with fermented fish, is one of the most sought after dishes of Manipur during winters.
However, this village in Senapati district, which borders Nagaland, has now reported that almost all its trees are under attack by looper.
A joint team of Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) Senapati and e-loumee, a platform for farming experts, visited the hill village located about 150km north west of Imphal on Sunday and confirmed the development.
“We’ve visited the village to oversee the situation arising out of pest attack on Yongchak (tree bean) trees,” says Homen Kangjam,farm manager of KVK Senapati. “We’ve also collected pest samples for further study.”
Looper can be seen in large numbers in every Yongchak tree and village areas, including house walls, he said.
Though the cause of the looper attack is yet to be ascertained, entomologists in the state said the pests will grow into moths.
Pungdi P Celestine, a social worker from Senapati, said villagers spotted the looper only recently and the pest has consumed almost all the green portions of Yongchak trees within a short span.
A source claimed a similar attack on Yongchak trees has been reported from the Kamjong area in Manipur. However, HT could not confirm this development.
Meanwhile, officials of horticulture & soil conservation department have started remedial measures by spraying the trees with organic medicines.
“We’ve also sent the collected samples (of loopers) to Indian Council of Agricultural Research for investigation,” Kh Upen,district horticulture officer, said on phone.
The state has already survived drying up of Yongchak trees over the years.