Rubber Board Chairperson Sheela Thomas has assured that the Corynespora leaf disease that was found in certain rubber estates near Thodupuzha need not arise as a source of concern among the farmers as the disease has been brought under control. Ms. Thomas was delivering the inaugural address at the Plant Protection Camp, jointly organised by the Rubber Board and the Rubber Producers' Societies held in Thodupuzha on Friday.

She said that the spread of the disease can be controlled by spraying proper fungicides. She also pointed out that the disease can be effectively controlled by spraying with proper fungicides. Dr. James Jacob, Director, Rubber Research Institute of India (RRII), said that scientists from the institute would visit rubber holdings periodically to identify the problems faced by the growers.

Dr. Kuruvilla Jacob, Director (Training), Rubber Board, pointed out that the disease was first noticed in certain mature holdings along the Kerala-Karnataka border, a few years ago.

“Sporadic incidents are now being noticed in isolated areas in Kerala. The disease is severe during the refoliation period from January to February. Trees in the border of the plantation and branches that are exposed to sunlight are seriously affected. Though Corynespora is now seen affecting a few holdings near Thodupuzha, many of the incidents noticed in the locality, showing symptoms of branch die-back, are not caused by Corynespora, but by the scorching summer heat,” he clarified.

The meeting was presided over by M. L. R. Hegden, Joint Rubber Production Commissioner. Beena Jolly, President, Karimannoor Grama Panchayat and K.A. Joseph, President, Cheppukulam Rubber Producers' Society offered felicitations.

Classes in the technical session were handled by Dr. Jacob Mathew, Deputy Director, RRII; Dr. Annakkuty Joseph, Senior Scientist; Dr. Sadanand K. Mushraf; K. Vijayan and C. Thomas, Development Officer, Rubber Board, Thodupuzha.

E.T. Francis Xavier, Deputy Rubber Production Commissioner welcomed the gathering and T. K. Raveendran, General Convener of the camp proposed a vote of thanks on the occasion.

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