GUWAHATI, April 4: Let there be no monkey business in tackling the monkey mece so as to give affected farmers in the State a respite. Monkeys are infamous for destroying cultivations in many areas in the State.
The monkey mece was raised on the floor of the State Assembly on Wednesday by MLA Mril Saikia who elicited a reply from State Agriculture Minister Atul Bora on the floor of the House.
A solution to monkey mece is not as simple as it looks like. Since monkeys are protected animals the government has been in a situation like walking a tightrope.
In his reply, Bora said: “Monkeys are protected animals. Application of chemicals, use of methods like trapping, closed-structure arrests etc., are not allowed. Such measures aren’t ethical as well.”
Such a situation leaves the department with little scope other than resorting to deterrents. “From time to time, our department, the Krishi Vigyan Kendra and Assam Agriculture University have been conducting training programmes at field levels in affected areas. Such trainings impart farmers some indigenous technical knowhow (ITK) to get rid of the monkey mece.”
Some of indigenous methods to get rid of monkeys, according to the minister, are keeping baits made of red chilli power, rice and oil in and around crops and nearby trees, and making it sure that water is not available anywhere nearby, the minister said.
Smell of dry fish, according to the minister, repels monkeys. This can be used to drive monkeys away from cultivated areas, he said.
Monkeys feel irritating when they hear sounds like that of crackers, fireworks and carnivorous animals. According to the minister, producing such sounds near cultivated areas can also help drive monkeys away. “Scarecrows and effigies of predating animals like tigers, lions and the like also drive monkeys away,” the minister said, and added: “Farmers should also prefer monkey deterrent crops like ginger, turmeric, brinjal, chilli, bhendi, marigold, Assam lemon etc. This apart, application of repellent like ecodin (1:5) in and around crop fields, mechanical and physical barriers like razor-wire fencing, bird nets, border cropping, solar fencing etc., can also give farmers a respite. Bio-acoustic gadget embedded with alarm and distress calls of different predator animals can also be installed to repel monkeys.”