A subject specialist attends to queries on crops, disease control, gardening

When the principal of a private school wanted to set up a garden on the campus near Yeyyadi on Airport Road, he contacted the ‘Horti Clinic’ for the know-how. So did the owner of a travel agency when she wanted a remedy for jackfruit rotting in her farm near Derebail.

The ‘Horti Clinic — set up at the office of the Deputy Director of Department of Horticulture two weeks ago — has an agriculture graduate to attend to the information being sought by farmers and others, and a computer operator. Other officials at the department help in running the clinic, said Yogesh H.R., Deputy Director of Horticulture, Dakshina Kannada.

Farmers could seek information on crop cultivation methods, how to control diseases and which crop is suitable to the region and the like from the clinic, he said.

The dedicated telephone number of the clinic is 0824-2412628. People may call up on working days between 10 a.m. and 5.30 p.m.. Farmers and others could send their questions through e-mailhorticlinicmangalore @gmail.com, Mr. Yogesh said.

If required, the officials visit the spot and recommend the solutions, he said.

In case plants died due to diseases or wilted, people could bring the samples of leaves to the clinic. The officials would inform them the causes for the disease and how to control it.

Explaining why jackfruit rot at a farm near Derebail, Joe Pradeep D’Souza, Assistant Director at the department who visited the farm with Naseeba, the subject specialist, said that as it was a grafted tree which does not grow tall the fruits were touching the ground. The fruits came in contact with soil and got infected during the rain.

Ms. Naseeba said that the clinic has begun getting calls from people on how to develop kitchen garden, on prices of agriculture commodities and how to control diseases.

The clinic has a kiosk with a touch screen. It will screen prices of commodities at different agriculture produce marketing committees in the State and other select places in the country.

The kiosk — funded by the Union government under its e-governance programme — will become operational in a few days, the Deputy Director said.

In addition, the Deputy Director’s office has another touch screen kiosk, which will provide general information on crops, new varieties, and cultivation practices. It is yet to start functioning.

The Department of Horticulture will shortly begin crop disease forecasting either on weekly or fortnightly basis.

The forecast would be on diseases likely to hit arecanut, coconut, cocoa and other select crops, on precautionary measures to be taken, and how to control diseases.

According to Deputy Director Yogesh H.R. the forecast would be based on the previous record of diseases which had hit the crops.