Areca grown on 14,111 hectares damaged in Chikmagalur

Areca grown on 14,111 hectares damaged in Chikmagalur

The estimated loss is ` 239 crore, says horticulture department

Areca grown on 14,111 hectares damaged in Chikmagalur

The heavy rains that lashed across the district has taken a toll on areca along with coffee plantations. At the same time, Yellow leaf disease and fruit rot disease have damaged the crops.

Arecanut is a major crop in Malnad and Plateau region. On an average, areca is grown on 40,694 acre land in the district and the total income fetched from areca is Rs 628 crore last year. Owing to heavy rains, fruit rot disease has affected 50 per cent of crops in Malnad. On the other hand, owing to shortage of rains, arecanut growers are in distress in Kadur and Tarikere taluk.

According to an estimate made by horticulture department, arecanut plantations has been damaged on 14,111 hectare land. 

The growers were expecting an yield of 55,445 tonne this year. However, with 50 per cent loss, the estimated loss is Rs 239 crore.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, Horticulture department Deputy Director B G Sampath said that the district administration has submitted a report to the Central government seeking compensation.”The farmers could not spray Bordeaux mixture to check Fruit Rot disease affecting plantations owing to continuous rain from July to August end. 

Areca is grown on 5,030 hectare land in Koppa taluk and crop has been damaged on 3500 hectares. The area under cultivation is as follows in other taluks: 2090 hectare in Sringeri taluk (1844 hectare damaged), 2500 hectare in N R Pura taluk (1900 hectare damaged), 17200 hectare in Tarikere taluk (6000 hectare damaged), 1120 hectare in Chikmagalur taluk (1016 hectare damaged), and 10054 in Kadur taluk (30 to 40 per cent loss).

“Thousands of families have been eking out a living on areca in Koppa and Sringeri taluk. However, owing to Yellow Leaf disease, the growers had to look into an alternative occupation. Hundreds of families have migrated to cities in search of employment,” said a farmer.

In fact, Gorakh Singh Committee which was constituted by the Centre to make a study on the areca growers problem has recommended to the government to stop encouraging farmers from cultivating arecanut and support farmers in alternative crops including black pepper, cardamom, cocoa and agarwood.

DCC Bank Vice President Menase Ramesh said “the government should waive off loans borrowed by the growers. If the government fails to come to the rescue of the growers, then suicide cases might increase.”

Arecanut grower Hebbige Surendra said, “areca crops have been completely damaged. It is a challenge for the growers to safeguard the existing trees. Even coffee, black pepper has also been affected with diseases. Farmers are in distress.”

“The ground water table has declined in Kadur. There is no water in water tanks. Areca is fetching good price in the market. However, owing to diseases affecting plantations, the yield is less,” said Arecanut Growers Association (Birur) President Arekal Kantharaj.

Horticulture department Deputy Director B G Sampath said, “majority of the crops have been damaged following Yellow Leaf disease and Fruit Rot Disease. The Centre is mulling over extending support to grow alternative crops.”

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