Karnataka

Nut dropping hits arecanut plantations on vast scale after a gap of five years

Growers ask scientists to inspect fields to find out cause

Nut dropping has hit arecanut plantations in the coastal belt on a vast scale after a gap of five years, worrying farmers.

It has made the All India Areca Growers Association based in Puttur to write to the Central Plantation Crops Research Institute (CPCRI), Kasaragod, Kerala, to send a team of scientists for a field visit to study why it has been recurring over some years now.

According to the general secretary of the association Mahesh Puchchappady, the CPCRI has agreed to send a team of scientists to some plantations this week. The association will lead the team to at least 10 such plantations.

The incidence of green coloured tender arecanuts dropping (or nut dropping) is high in Sullia, Puttur and Bantwal taluks in Dakshina Kannada and some tracts of Udupi. It is not button shedding or fruit-rot disease, Mr. Puchchappady told The Hindu.

The association estimates that the nut dropping could reduce the arecanut production by about 30% this year.

The general secretary said that normally some amount of nut dropping is common in arecanut plantations. Though it has been attributed to variations in weather conditions the association wants agriculture scientists to find out the exact reason and why it aggravates in some years. “Like the loss due to ‘kole roga’ (fruit rot disease), nut dropping also results in huge loss to farmers, especially small and marginal ones. The association wants farm scientists to suggest how it can be prevented or controlled.”

Ramesh Kainthaje, a grower from near Mani, said that nut dropping had hit the plantations on a vast scale last in June, 2014. Now again it is worrisome. “I might suffer 30-40 % loss this year,” he said.

H.R. Nayak, Deputy Director, Department of Horticulture, Dakshina Kannada, said that though the reasons for the nut dropping cannot be generalised it usually happens in June due to change in the weather from summer to rains. If the plantations did not have proper channels to drain out water in the rainy season it may result in the phenomenon. The reasons will have to be ascertained from field visits. The department could send scientists from the Krishi Vignana Kendra (KVK) to the high incidence areas.

A former scientist with the CPCRI said that pentatomid bug also caused tender nut dropping but added that it could not be blamed on the bug alone. Other factors such as whether the farmers have sprayed the traditional copper sulphate and lime solution or new brands of solution as a precaution to control the fruit-rot disease also mattered, he added.

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Printable version | Jul 6, 2020 8:21:07 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/nut-dropping-hits-arecanut-plantations-on-vast-scale-after-a-gap-of-five-years/article31947686.ece

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