Fruit rot disease leaves arecanut growers of Karnataka in dire straits | Deccan Herald

2022-09-19 04:45:40 By : Ms. Maggie Yi

The arecanut growers in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts are worried about losing the crop for kole roga, or fruit rot disease, following an increase in rainfall.

Arecanut is cultivated on over 97,000 hectares in Dakshina Kannada and 25,481 hectares in the Udupi district. Dakshina Kannada district has received over 3,600 mm of rainfall so far. Owing to heavy pre-monsoon showers in April/May, the growers could not spray the Bordeaux mixture to check the infestation.

Further, the extended rainfall has hampered the spraying of fungicide in plantations in the region. Many farmers were not in a position to take up spraying in their plantations during July this year owing to the bountiful showers. Farmers normally take up the first round of Bordeaux spraying in their plantations before the monsoon and later in the month of July. 

Also Read | Grade, quality of arecanut need not be declared for tax purposes: Karnataka HC

Raitha Sangha & Hasiru Sene state secretary Manohar Shetty told DH that several hectares of arecanut plantations in Dakshina Kannada district have been infected with fruit rot disease. The officials claim that arecanut is covered under the weather-based crop insurance scheme (WBCIS) in Dakshina Kannada. However, the Raitha Sangha has been demanding the government announce compensation of Rs 50,000 per acre under natural calamity relief. “The farmers have to wait till next September or October to get the insurance amount under the weather-based crop insurance scheme. How can they sustain their livelihood till then?” he said.

Following the fruit rot disease, the immature arecanuts have rotted and started withering. Heavy showers and an increase in humidity result in the spread of the disease further in the plantation, said farmer Shekar.

Udupi Bharatiya Kisan Sangha general secretary Sathyanarayana Udupa said “There is a provision for distributing compensation of Rs 28,000 per hectare under natural calamity relief to the farmers whose plantations have been affected by the disease. But, the farmers have spent more than Rs 50,000 for spraying Bordeaux mixture per hectare.”

Also Read | Centre to take steps to protect arecanut growers’ interests, says Araga Jnanendra

The Kisan Sangha has urged the district administration to disburse at least Rs 50,000 per acre of loss of arecanut crop.

DK Horticulture department Deputy Director H R Naik said “The compensation under natural calamity relief is distributed only if the crop loss is more than 33 %. If the crop loss is above 33%, then farmers can submit applications seeking compensation. If the growers contact the department, the scientists will visit the affected plantations and they will be informed of the disease control measures. As the rain has receded and there is sunshine, the farmers can spray the Bordeaux mixture to save the crops now,” he said.

Mahesh Puchchappady,  general secretary of Areca Growers Association, said “About 30 to 40% of arecanut corps have been affected with fruit rot disease. The major affected areas are Sullia and Belthangady taluks as both the taluks had received heavy showers.” 

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