4,500 farmers growing areca on 3,383 hectares affected

Arecanut farmers are facing a tough time in Udupi district as ‘Kole Roga’ or Mahali disease has affected the areca palms. Arecanut is grown on 7,048 hectares of land. Of this 7,048 hectares, 3,383 hectares of land is affected by ‘Kole Roga’.

Nearly 80 of the arecanut plantations are in Kundapur and Karkala taluks, while the remaining 20 per cent are in Udupi taluk.

According to the Department of Horticulture, nearly 4,500 farmers had been affected by the Kole Roga in the district and the loss to the yield had been tentatively estimated at Rs. 13.19 crore. Continuous rains are responsible for the rapid spread of ‘Kole Roga’.

Udupi district received a rainfall of 2,024 mm from January to July in 2012, while it received 3,117 mm of rainfall during the same period in 2013.

“Since there is continuous rainfall, the loss might increase in the coming days. The ‘Kole Roga’ is also making its presence felt in the non-traditional areas of the district,” said B.P. Harish, Deputy Director of Horticulture.

Narasimha Kamath, who grows arecanut on 1.5 acres of land at Karvalo in Alevoor village, said nearly 75 per cent of arecanut palms in his field had been affected by ‘Kole Roga’.

“I will loose 10 to 12 quintals of arecanut this year. There has been continuous rainfall for the last two months. Hence, I could not spray the Bordeaux mixture. There is no chance that the mixture will dry up,” he said.

Rain damage

While another farmer Ramakrishna Sharma, who also grows arecanut at Bantakal village, said nearly 60 per cent of arecanuts on his plantation had withered away. Nearly 75 per cent of the yield might get damaged as the rains were continuing, he said.

Guruprasad, Assistant Horticulture Officer, said the Department was giving a subsidy of Rs. 800 per acre for the copper sulphate used in the Bordeaux mixture. Training on the preparation of the Bordeaux mixture was being given at different places by the scientists of the Krishi Vigyan Kendra, he said.

Jayalakshmi Hegde, Programme Coordinator at Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Brahmavar, said farmers should use the right mixture of Bordeaux spray. They should spray it on arecanut and arecanut leaves before the onset of the monsoon.

“If they notice ‘Kole Roga’ on areca palms, they should spray it, wait for 25 days and then give another spray to control it. The affected nuts, which drop below the trees should be cleared immediately,” she said.

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