Blight aggravates Haveri farmers plight

Blight aggravates Haveri farmers plight

The disease engulfs paddy in 5,000 hectares; if not controlled, yield could come down by 60 pc

Paddy is grown predominantly in semi-Malnad regions of Hanagal and Shiggaon taluk in Haveri district. The crop has been sown in 39,973 hectares against 29,816 hectares last year. Copious rain this year led to increase in the area under paddy cultivation.

Kemparaju, Joint Director of Agriculture Department, told Deccan Herald that the disease has affected paddy crop in 3,000 hectares of Hanagal taluk and 1,600 hectares of Shiggaon taluk.

According to Ashtapatri, a paddy expert, the disease, if not controlled, would bring down the yield by about 60 per cent.

Blight, one of the major paddy diseases turns leaf blades  yellowish and spreads gradually.  The bacterial ooze on young lesions turn yellow as the disease advances and the infected leaves dry soon. Leaves roll up and become grayish and when seen from a distant the infected grass appear like flames.

The disease has spread in  paddy fields of Bommanahalli and other villages of Hanagal taluk, Kundur, Aratala, Dundasi, Kunnur, Andalagi and other villages in Shiggaon taluks.

The farmers, encouraged by good rains, had great expectations. But their hopes were gutted as the blight disease engulfed the tender grass in an uncontrollable manner.

“For the past one week we have been struggling hard to check the spread of the disease. But we have not received a matching response from the Agriculture department.

Though the disease has advanced in several villages, the officials have not even bothered to visit the field,” said Bharamagouda Patil, former APMC president.

Though delayed initially, the department officials have swung into action and working in tandem with the farmers of Hanagal and Shiggaon to bring the situation under control.

Raita Samparka Kendra, a centre to provide information to farmers has been opened.
The disease can be checked if it doesn’t rain, Kemparaju said.

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