The Giant African snail, which is wreaking havoc with crops in Barrackpore, has now moved to Golconda.
The snails, regarded as the world’s most destructive land snails, are carriers of the rat lungworm which causes meningitis in humans.
Yet, because of the heavy infestations, the Ministry of Agriculture says it is no longer doing field visits. The unit is now advising farmers and residents to try to control the pests themselves.
One resident said the pests are multiplying in huge numbers near the WASA pumping station at Phase 1 Ridgewood Gardens, Golconda.
“A lot of people here rely on agriculture to earn a livelihood and we are fearful that the snails could destroy fields and fields of crops,” the resident said.
In response to an email from Guardian Media, an agricultural officer with the Entomology Unit Research Division of the Ministry of Agriculture said the giant African snail infestation has become a national issue.
“It should also be noted that there is no ‘one-time fix’ solution and requires continuous monitoring and adoption of the management practices. Unfortunately, the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries is unable to carry out baiting and/or collection of snails at this time,” the officer said.
The officer advised that a list of strategies that can be used to control this pest.
The snails, first spotted in Diego Martin in 2008, has moved southward and have been destroying fields of crops in Cumoto, Barrackpore.
Farmers have been using metaldehyde and sodium chloride to control the pests.