Mangaluru

Areca growers worried over spread of Yellow Leaf Disease in new areas

An arecanut plantation of Chanila Tirumaleshwara Bhat near Guthigar in Sullia taluk, Dakshina Kannada, reportedly hit by the Yellow Leaf Disease.  

Though arecanut is commanding a high price in the market now, growers are worried that Yellow Leaf Disease is spreading to non-traditional areas in Dakshina Kannada. The yield in the disease-hit palms declines over the years finally resulting in death.

According to General Secretary, All India Areca Growers Association, Puttur, Mahesh Puchchappady, the disease has now spread to some plantations in Elimale, Guthigar, Kollamogra, Kadaba, Badanaje near Vitla and Savanur near Puttur.

Earlier, the disease used to be concentrated in Aranthodu, Sampaje, Todikana and Markanja areas in the district. This was so for more than two decades.

However, a scientist from Central Plantation Crops Research Institute (CPCRI), Kasaragod, told The Hindu that many a time farmers confuse this disease with leaf spot, crown rot and root grub diseases.

It is due to similarity in symptoms, predominantly leaves turning yellow, in the case of Yellow Leaf Disease and also in the other three diseases.

Hence, a proper study is required before drawing any conclusion. The former Director of CPCRI and chairman of the technical committee of the State Task Force on Arecanut P. Chowdappa said that at times leaves turn yellow due to soil pH issues. This aspect will have to be verified, along with the other three diseases, as the Yellow Leaf Disease was first reported in the State in 1965 and it was being reported from around Koppa, Sringeri, Sampaje, Aranthodu belts since then.

“If it has been noticed in Savanur, away from the traditional area, it calls for a study,” he said.

Mr. Puchchappady said that the assessment by farmers is based on the preliminary Yellow Leaf Disease symptom, as told by scientists, under which the yellowing symptom of leaf disappear well before the start of the dry period (usually from December onwards) to turn green. Immediately after the dry period, green symptom disappears again to turn yellow (during August to November). These symptoms are recurring since some years now. In addition, the quality yield of the affected palm has come down gradually and the affected palm is producing more low quality “kari gotu” grade of arecanut.

“If the yellowing symptom noticed in non-traditional areas is not related to the Yellow Leaf Disease, then farm scientists from the government-managed research institutes and departments should make it clear what exactly it is,” he said and added that farmers will be relieved if it is not Yellow Leaf Disease.

Mr. Puchchappady said that in diseases such as crown rot, yellow symptom of leaves continues without any change.

The association will meet on Wednesday to discuss this issue and chalk out the future course of action, he said.


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Printable version | Oct 18, 2021 11:41:50 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Mangalore/areca-growers-worried-over-yellow-leaf-disease-spread-in-new-areas/article36714971.ece

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