The loss in arecanut, coconut and pomegranate on account of heavy rain, diseases and drought in the State has been put at Rs. 1,889 crore.
Principal Secretary, Horticulture, M.K. Shankarlinge Gowda told presspersons here on Wednesday that the estimated loss of arecanut due to fruit rot disease (Kole Roga) was Rs. 789 crore.
He said that heavy rainfall since the beginning of monsoon in the six districts of Malnad and the coastal region has dealt a serious blow to arecanut growers who have lost crop on account of the disease.
He said that the State government has sanctioned Rs. 73 crore, and Rs. 35 crore had been released to Shimoga, Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and Kodagu districts for providing compensation at the rate of Rs. 12,000 per hectare.
Arecanut plantations are spread over 2.27 lakh hectares in the Malnad and the coastal districts.
Mr. Shankarlinge Gowda said that coconut palms spread over 15,789 hectares in 11 major coconut growing districts are dead on account of severe drought in the last three years.
The loss has been estimated at Rs. 600 crore. A proposal would be sent to the Centre seeking compensation for providing relief to growers. The Union and State governments would share the compensation on 50:50 ratio. There was a plan to release Rs. 25,000 each to coconut growers in two instalments to take up re-plantation.
The loss in pomegranate has been put at Rs. 500 crore in the last few years. The Centre has sanctioned a Rs. 50-crore package and Rs. 25 crore has been released. Growers have been advised against taking up pomegranate in irrigated areas. Farmers in Hiriyur in Chitradurga district have taken up the crop on 5,000 hectares of rain-fed area, he said.
To fight malnutrition in the six districts in the Gulbarga division, the department has decided to promote kitchen gardens at the household level, urban horticulture on the premises of schools and anganwadis, and community gardens with a focus on vegetable cultivation, Mr. Shankarlinge Gowda said.
A sum of Rs. 2.5 crore has been earmarked for distribution of seeds and seedlings of vegetables. The Indian Institute of Horticultural Research has been supporting the department in taking up this project.