Chief Minister urged to conduct a survey on the damage caused by the disease

Fruit rot disease or “kole roga” which farmers say is widespread in areca plantations in Dakshina Kannada now has dampened the spirit of farmers who have been enjoying high prices for white arecanut this year.

All India Areca Growers' Association based at Puttur has written to Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda to conduct a survey on the extent of plantations succumbed to the disease, waive interest on crop loans, waive land revenue payable by farmers and give them compensation for the loss.

New method

At this juncture, two agriculturists, Patte Venugopal of Kavu near Puttur and Prashanth Narasimha near Panja, told The Hindu that a new method of spraying disease control chemical solution in the plantations tried by them this year had helped them in controlling the disease to a great extent.

Association president Manchi Srinivasa Achar told The Hindu that “kole roga" affected arecanut plantations after the start of the south-west monsoon and resulted in the rotting and shedding of tender nuts. Although the disease was common to some extent in the plantations in monsoon, it had aggravated and was widespread this year. It was due to continuous rain in major arecanut growing taluks of Puttur, Bantwal, Belthangady, and Sullia.

According to information with the office of the Deputy Commissioner here, the district recorded an average 3,601 mm rainfall from January to September 17, 2011 when compared to an average 3,290 mm rainfall recorded during the corresponding period of 2010.

Crop loss

Mr. Achar said that many growers would lose 25 per cent to 40 per cent of crop this year due to disease. “Today is 120th day of rain continuing in rural areas in the district,” he said.

Mr. Achar said that growers should have completed spraying chemical solution for three times by now. Many could not do it.

He said after the association wrote to Mr. Gowda a fortnight ago, a Horticulture Department official contacted him to provide a list of affected farmers.

The association asked the official to conduct a survey and not to pass on their responsibilities to the association.