India: Late blight attacks potato crop in Punjab
Jan. 6, 2011
Late blight, a fungal disease, has attacked the potato crop in Punjab, which is a major producer of tuber crop in the country, raising fear of damage to the crop. According to a survey conducted by Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), late blight, causes huge loss to crop yield, which appears in isolated fields of potato plantation in Hoshiarpur district. “For the last few days, change in climatic conditions and unseasonal rainfall, has occurred at many places in Punjab. As a result, humidity has increased and such conditions are conducive for the development of late blight of potato,” said a plant pathologist at PAU.
Experts have advised farmers to apply recommended fungicides to prevent extensive damage to the crop due to late blight. PAU, Department of Plant Pathology, T.S. Thind suggested the farmers to trim leaves of the early crop, which is about to mature and will protect the tubers from late blight infection.
Late blight has been a bane for potato growers of Punjab as it had threatened to hit the crop yield. In year 2007, it had almost wiped out the crop, causing extensive losses to potato growers.
Area under potato in Punjab, which has 60 per cent share in country’s seed potato market, stands at 83,000 hectares with an estimated output of 20 lakh tonne. The farmers grow potato varieties of Pukhraj, Jyoti, Kufri Chandramukhi, Kufri Bahar and Kufri Ashoka. Potato crop is sown at various places in Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Hoshiarpur, Ludhiana, Moga, Amritsar and Phagwara.
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