Outbreak of coconut disease confirmed

Scientists from KAU inspecting a disease-affected areca nut plantation at Anackalpetty, Marayur, in Idukki district on Wednesday.  

A team of scientists from Kerala Agricultural University (KAU), who visited Marayur on Wednesday, following large-scale spread of a disease among coconut and areca nut trees, confirmed that it was phytoplasmas, a micro plasma like virus spread by insects.

Phytoplasmas had been identified as a major disease that spreads fast and could pose a threat to cultivation in the entire region. An earlier report in the The Hindu had highlighted the disease spreading in Marayur. The expert team also suggested that the only remedy is to cut the affected trees and destroy them to prevent its fast spreading. K. Murgugan, Marayur Agriculture officer, who accompanied the team said that to prevent its spreading farmers would be detailed on the measures taken. The symptom of the disease is yellowing of the outer leaves, resulting in decay of the tender leaves and complete drying up of the trunk. Once the disease is noticed in a few coconut trees, it spreads to nearby farms.

He said that the Agriculture Department has also requested the help of the Central Plantation Crop Research Institute, Kasaragod to suggest measures to contain the disease. He said that the team also found root grab and deficiencies of nutrients in the soil.

The team consisted scientists Jim Thomas, A.B. Mathew and D.P. Sureshkumar. Govinda Raju, S. Manikandan and Angel C.R., officials of agriculture department, also accompanied them.

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Printable version | Jul 26, 2021 8:13:31 PM |

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