CHILI production is estimated to drop this season as pepper plantations across Ayeyawady Region have been seriously damaged by Spodoptera mauritia, a caterpillar that feeds on rice, locals say.
“We used more fertiliser to kill the pests, but they spread to the whole plantation and destroyed both leaves and fruits,” said farmer Ngu Wah. “Most fertilisers cannot kill the pest.”
The caterpillar has destroyed chili plantations in the region over the last two years, she added.
She also said she believes the outbreak of Spodoptera mauritia is linked to climate change.
Caterpillars have destroyed not only pepper plantations but mung bean and green gram cultivations in the region. Three or four plants are destroyed by the caterpillar every night, according to local farmers.