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Potato farmers wary of late blight as region sees dip in temperature

Fungal disease can become epidemic if not controlled

Potato farmers wary of late blight as region sees dip in temperature

An official of the Horticulture Department during a visit to a field to check late blight symptoms. Tribune Photo



Tribune News Service

Aakanksha N Bhardwaj

Jalandhar, November 30

Fear of late blight disease has gripped potato farmers in the region. Some instances have been witnessed in Nawanshahr district by the experts. They said with a dip in temperature, rain and cloudy weather, the possibility of the potato crop catching the disease has also increased. The horticulture department has released an advisory in this regard. It’s a fungal disease that spreads when the temperature dips.

The horticulture department officials said the disease normally starts in Hoshiarpur’s Sham Chaurasi area and then spreads. It can become an epidemic, if not controlled in the initial stages, officials said.

Dr Daljit Singh Gill, Deputy Director, Horticulture Department, Nawanshahr, said a few instances had come to the fore where farmers complained of spots on the leaves. “If the weather continues to remain like this, then the cases will increase and in case of no clouds tomorrow, it could be controlled,” he said. The Deputy Director added that the farmers have been asked to spray fungicides on the crop.

State Nodal Officer (Potato) Dr Paramjit Singh said that around 10 days ago, he had started reaching out to the farmers through WhatsApp messages and asked them to take pre-emptive measures. “There are some who didn’t follow, they are facing some problems, but we have given solutions to them too,” he said, adding that the late blight had become an epidemic in the state years ago.

The experts said specifically, two varieties, Kufri Pukhraj and Kufri Chandermukhi, are more prone to the disease. Farmer Kirpal Singh from Musapur in Jalandhar said some marginal farmers sow the affected seeds of last year which creates problems for them. “Right now, I have not discussed any such case in fields located near my place, but if the temperature remains below 10 degrees at night, it will definitely affect the crop,” he said.

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