Special Correspondent

Stem-rot disease hits paddy crop in East Godavari

  • Stem-rot disease hits paddy crop in East Godavari
  • Rythu Chaitanya Yatras from April 16 to May 5

    HYDERABAD: Significant climate changes over the past few years have led to `alarming' increase in the hitherto minor or unknown pests that are causing wilting and other effects on the crops in different parts of the State.

    For instance, paddy crop in over 45,000 hectares in East Godavari district was infected by stem-rot disease in just three days during the previous season.

    "Moreover, since the pests are viral in nature, there is no alternative but to burn the affected plants to ensure that the disease does not spread to others," Agriculture Commissioner Poonam Malakondaiah said.

    Addressing a press conference here on Wednesday, she said the introduction of genetically modified (GM) crops, engineered for a specific trait, was also resulting in new pest problems. This called for a regular monitoring and surveillance system to know the status of pests, which was a pre-requisite for effective implementation of integrated pest management.

    To counter this, the department had cautioned the GM companies to indicate the problems on the labels of their products while they were also cautioned against spurious seed.

    The department was planning to take up awareness programmes on the new pests during the Rythu Chaitanya Yatras between April 16 and May 5 wherein farmers would be educated on different aspects of crops and cropping pattern.

    In addition, it was decided to prepare village agriculture action plans by April 5 and strengthen pest surveillance mechanism in every district through the seed testing labs to test genetic purity of the seeds.

    The department had also cautioned farmers against opting for Bt cotton crops in rain-fed areas.