Fruit rot: 56,474 applicants seek compensation

A file photo of arecanuts fallen in a farm in Dakshina Kannada.

With the fruit rot disease (kole roga) causing severe damage in arecanut plantations across the district, Horticulture Department officials have received 56,474 applications from farmers seeking compensation from the government.

According to statistics, the district has received a record 4554.4 mm rainfall this year. The heavy rainfall in the district has greatly affected a majority of the arecanut plantations.

Sullia, Puttur, and Belthangady taluks have been receiving rain since May. As the rain showed no sign of letting up, the farmers could not spray the bordeaux mixture solutions late May or early June to prevent an attack of the disease.

The district administration’s report to the government had assessed the total loss due to natural calamities to be Rs 217 crore. The report had also sought compensation for farmers who had suffered extensive loss due to the fruit rot disease. Officials from the Horticulture and Revenue Departments had also visited the plantations and surveyed the extent of damage.

Puttur Assistant Horticulture Officer Holebasappa said the Horticulture Department had conducted a survey of 10% of affected areas in the first phase.

The remaining survey was conducted by the village accountants at the gram panchayat level. The loss is calculated by comparing the number of trees as well as this year’s production with the previous year’s. The disease has affected 33% to 55% of the plantations. In 2013, over 25,000 hectares of arecanut plantations were hit by the fruit rot disease, forcing the government to disburse a compensation amount of Rs 26 crore to farmers.

In 2007, 20,000 farmers suffered losses due to the disease and the government declared a compensation of Rs 4.59 crore.

The officials informed that a proposal was submitted to the Centre, seeking funds under the natural calamity, including for an attack of the fruit rot disease.

Under the natural calamity guidelines, if 33% of an arecanut plantation was affected, then the compensation will be Rs 18,000 a hectare. This year, the government is yet to issue any guideline on release of compensation for fruit rot disease.

Arecanut figures

Taluk-wise statistics of the Horticulture Department show 39,396 hectares in the district are under arecanut cultivation. The average annual production is 3,604 metric tonne.

Sullia (11,389 hectares) 12,312

Puttur (9,966 hectares) 09,742

Bantwal (6,230 hectares) 12,979

Mangaluru (3,775 hectares) 3,557 (including Moodbidri)

Beltangady (8036 hectares) 12,168

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