Urgent need for India to enforce bio-security measures

The deadly fungal disease of Phytophthora ramorum has already surfaced in parts of Europe and North America

Are Indian forests under threat from the deadly fungal disease which has hit parts of Europe and North America?

Though the country has till now been free of the disease called Phytophthora ramorum , plant pathologists are worried about the havoc it could cause if it spreads to India and underlined the need for an effective bio-security measure to prevent such an outbreak.

One of the key measures that need to be implemented is quarantine facility and mandatory screening of all agricultural material that enters the country, according to experts. This is extremely important as there is a lot of movement of people as well as agricultural material from the disease-infested countries in Europe.

Noted plant pathologist and director of Kasargod-based Central Plantation Crops Research Institute P. Chowdappa points out that India is losing horticultural crops worth around Rs. 45,000 to 65,000 crore a year due to attack of various species of Phytophthora which include the late blight disease that seriously affect potato and tomato crops.

Stressing the importance of bio-security system, he notes that the new strain of late blight that has seriously affected potato and tomato crops came to India through an infested potato variety imported from the Netherlands to Hassan some time in 2008.

Mr. Brett M. Tyler, director of Stewart Endowed Chair of Gene Research in Oregon State University, too feels that India must set up an agency to test all agricultural material that comes into the country by using DNA technology to detect the presence of pathogens. “It is just like tackling Ebola virus with respect to human beings. If you want to prevent the spread of Ebola virus, you need to test the people coming to India very carefully,” he observes.

The deadly fungal disease of Phytophthora ramorum has already surfaced in parts of Europe and North America

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Printable version | Jun 4, 2020 2:17:07 AM |

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