Crop Damage, Monkey Fever Threaten Cashew Production in Goa

Not only do the workers face loss due to crop damage, they also face the risk of catching the monkey fever.

2 min read
Image used for representational purposes only.

While the farmers in Goa are prepping for the harvest season which starts from February and stays till June, the issues of ‘monkey fever’ and crop damage at cashew plantations remain rampant.

Not only does the monkey menace destroy the plantation, it transmits a virus through ticks, which puts the migrant workers at risk of catching the disease.

In North Goa’s Keri village, local farmers and migrant workers from Karnataka and Maharashtra tested positive for Kyasanur Forest Disease (KFD) or the monkey fever in 2018, Village Square reported. The district has large cashew plantations.

Black-faced langurs and red-faced bonnet monkeys get infected with KFD through infected ticks.

According to a report by The Indian Express, the disease was first detected in Goa in 2015 and as many as 82 cases were registered between January and June in 2017.

Being the largest cashew producer, India’s cashew business is an important foreign exchange earner. However, the farmers fear a decrease in production due to the monkey menace.

The cashew plantations in Keri village have been a major source of livelihood for many villagers and migrant workers from adjoining districts of Karnataka and Maharashtra.

Workers from Belgaum and Sindhudurg districts travel to Keri village every year from February to May for work, risking their health due to monkey fever.

The disease spread by tick bites may take two weeks to recover, but can also be fatal in few other cases. However, it has become the cause of death in many infected monkeys.

The state of Goa has over 55,000 hectares of cashew plantations with an annual production of about 27,000 to 30,000 tonnes, Village Square reported.

(With inputs from The Indian Express and Village Sqaure)

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