Yellow leaf disease has hit plantations in six districts, including Dakshina Kannada, Udupi

The State government has constituted a 16-member committee to recommend special package to arecanut growers whose plantations have been affected by yellow leaf disease (YLD) and other diseases. The committee is headed by S.B. Dandin, Vice-Chancellor, University of Horticultural Sciences, Bagalkot.

The committee would be recommending alternative crop in plantations completely hit by the disease; and inter-crop and mixed crop in partially-hit plantations.

The committee has been asked to find out how affected farmers could be “scientifically compensated”. The government order issued on June 29 has asked the committee to submit its report within two months.

The preamble of the order said the committee was formed after a decision was taken in a meeting presided over by the Speaker of the Assembly Kagodu Thimmapa on June 6 to send a special package proposal to the Centre. This meeting felt that the special package should enable the farmers whose plantations have been totally hit so that they can remove all the disease-hit palms and grow an alternative crop. In the case of partially-hit plantations, the proposal was for an inter-crop amid arecanut palms that have not been affected.

According to the order, the yellow leaf disease and other diseases have hit arecanut plantations in Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, Uttara Kannada, Chikmagalur, Shimoga and Kodagu districts. Arecanut is also grown in Chitradurga, Davangere, Tumkur and Hassan districts.

Among the members of the committee are head of the Central Plantation Crops Research Institute (CPCRI), Vitla, Dakshina Kannada; T. N. Prakash Kmmadari, a professor of agriculture economics, University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore; head, Arecanut Research Centre, Sringeri, Chikmagalur district and other officials of the Department of Horticulture.

Meanwhile, in his reply to a non-star question by K. Monappa Bhandary, MLC, in the Legislative Council on July 16, Shamanur Shivashankarappa, Minister for Horticulture and Agricultural Marketing from Cooperation, replied that the State produced 3.66 lakh tonnes of arecanut annually from 2.28 lakh hectares.