Late blight attacked potato in Maharashtra, India
Oct. 10, 2009
Heavy rainfall is causing the price of potato to increase steadily.
Heavy rains have damaged the potato crop in Sangli, Satara, and Kolhapur [Maharashtra state]. The potato crop is also affected because of late blight disease. "Supply of potato is down by 30 percent," said Vilas Bhujbal, director of the Agriculture Produce Market Committee.
[Potato late blight (PLB) is caused by the fungus-like organism _Phytophthora infestans_ and can cause 100 percent crop loss. The pathogen can also affect tomato and some other solanaceous crops. It is spread by plant material (including potato seed tubers), wind and water. PLB disease management generally relies on fungicide treatments of seed tubers and crops, but new and more virulent strains are emerging frequently.
While PLB often causes problems in the region of India and its neighbours, the disease has been extraordinarily rampant this planting season (2008-2009), with outbreaks reported earlier from Punjab and West Bengal (previous ProMED-mail posts listed below).
Weather conditions have been partly blamed, but it must be considered that lack of efficient certification of seed potatoes may be playing a role in these recent outbreaks as well. Emergence of a new strain with increased fungicide resistances can also not be excluded.
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