Even as the Union government is struggling to boost the country's agriculture extension system, pesticide and crop chemical manufacturers have joined hands with rural ngos to promote safe and judicious usage of pesticides among the farmers.

Pineapple mealy bug is a major pest occurring wherever pineapple is grown. It is root feeding insect, yet some colonies are found on the basal portion of leaves and fruits. The pest sucks the sap and simultaneously injects saliva containing wilt virus, inflicting heavy losses. The first symptoms of the disease appear in the roots which cease to grow, collapse and then rot. An apparently flourishing crop will show the symptoms earlier than a slow growing poor crop. Quick wilt

Pests, weeds, diseases take a toll on produce, says agriculture minister. The country is losing agricultural production worth Rs 1.48 lakh crore annually due to damage from pests, weeds and plant diseases, according to the Crop Care Foundation of India (CCFI). This reckoning is based on Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar's statement in the Rajya Shabha indicating that around 10-30 per cent of the farm produce was lost every year due to pests, weeds and diseases.

Farmers' traditional methods for managing the potato late blight in the Meghalaya hills are successful examples of ecological disease management and an established outcome of traditional experimentations. Such farmers' wisdom ought to be given attention in formal research systems. Dec 2007

Meghalaya, a small state in the North Eastern region of India, is inhabited by different indigenous communities, mainly of Mongoloid origin. Of the approximately 2.3 million population, about 85 percent live in rural areas and depend on agriculture for their livelihood.

Authorities in Somalia's self-declared autonomous region of Puntland in the northeast have appealed for international aid following the destruction of thousands of hectares of pasture and farmland by a locust infestation.

"We issued an appeal for help on September 23; Puntland alone cannot deal with this,' Hassan Arab, the deputy minister of rangeland and forestry, told the un's Integrated Regional Information Networks. "This time the swarms are bigger and more destructive than the ones we had in June. They have also spread to a wider area,' he said.

a group of Australian scientists has started the complete genome sequencing of bollworm, world's worst agricultural pest. It inflicts an annual damage of us $5 billion on farmers worldwide.

And how it compares with IPM and organic farming

a project to develop peas with pest-resistance induced through genetic changes has been given up after tests on mice showed allergic lung damage.

After the recent spate of violence, there is a possibility the West African republic of Sudan is faced with yet another crisis