Tribune News Service
Jammu, March 18
More than 8,000 hectares under wheat crop in Jammu and Kathua districts have been affected by yellow rust, a fungal disease, increasing farmers’ worries. The problem has come to the notice of farmers some six days ago.
The yellow rust has been reported from Arnia and some other areas of the RS Pura sector along the International Border, which is considered the grain bowl of Jammu and Kashmir.
Although senior officials in the agriculture department said the yellow rust spread was under control, farmers say the current weather could spread it quickly as had happened in 2011 when about thousands of hectares of wheat crop were destroyed during the rabi season.
Officials said of the 71,000 hectares in Jammu under wheat cultivation, about 8,000 hectares had been affected. In Kathua, about 269 hectares of the 41,000 hectares have been affected.
“The department has distributed full supplies of Propiconazole as per requirement. Additional demand has been recorded in Jammu and the fungicide will be procured and distributed. Besides, the private companies dealing in pesticides have been requested to meet the demand,” said Pawan Singh Rathore, Director, Agriculture, Jammu.
Rathore said there were no reports about any spread in Samba, Reasi and Udhampur districts. “Farmers in these districts took precautionary measures in time by spraying fungicide well in advance,” said the Director.
Yellow rust attacks leaves of the wheat crop, stopping their photosynthesis.
The disease turn leaves black and rapidly spreads by transmission of spores through air. It has to be contained in the initial stages else it goes out of control.
“Cultivators face this problem every year and thousands of farmers get affected by the disease. We have been demanding fungus-resistant seed varieties but that is not been provided. Hope the agriculture department will take some measures,” said Tejinder Singh, a farmer activist and president, J&K Flower Growers Association.
Yellow rust is caused by wind-borne urediospores of Puccinia striiformis. High humidity and low temperature provide the most favourable ground for the spread of the disease.
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