The Spices Board of India has said that the incidence of decay and clump rot diseases affecting cardamom plants this monsoon is higher than that of previous years due to the high humidity in the cardamom plantation tracts. It also said that farmers should take additional measures to check the diseases.

In a press release issued here on Thursday, it said that the fungal diseases were of common occurrence during monsoon and the severity was “a little higher this time though not alarming.”

The disease has been noticed especially in Udumbanchola, Karithodu, Pethotty, Nameri, Pulianmala, Aniyartholu, Vallakadavn, Anavilazam, Vandanmedu in the district. Unlike previous years, the cardamom tracts in the district were still experiencing rains, a reason for the spread of the disease.

Due to continuous rains, the relative humidity in the tracts was high, which was conducive for the multiplication of fungal pathogens causing rotting. In plantations where prophylactic spraying of one per cent Bordeaux Mixture was adopted during May-June, the incidence of fungal disease was relatively less. Many farmers could not adopt this prophylactic measure as there had been no dry spell after monsoon. The incidence of the rot disease was more prevalent in swampy areas where there was stagnation of water and less drainage, it said.

The field officers of the board were conducting meetings and campaigns among farmers to avoid further spread of the disease. Using 0.2 per cent Carbendazim had been recommended for the control of clump rot disease. It was also advisable to adopt measures like trashing and cleaning the affected plants.

The crop loss due to rot disease is estimated at 7.8 percent during 2011-12 under Nedumkandam region alone.