Mangaluru, June 8, 2015: The SW monsoon is setting in and the Central Plantation Crops Research Institute (CPCRI) has begun field trials the reliability of 13 fungicides sold in the market as controllers of ‘kole roga’ (fruit rot disease) in arecanut palms.
It has begun field trials in its arecanut plantations at Vitla and Kidu (near Kukke Subrahmanya) in Dakshina Kannada on demand from farmers. Director, CPCRI, under the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, Kasaragod, told media that the field trials would go on till the end of October 2015.
Each of the 13 fungicides would be sprayed on 90 palms each, during the rainy season according to practice of the farmers. A total of 1,170 arecanut palms are involved in this experiment. One round of spraying on the palms is already complete. Earlier, farmers in contact programmes with the CPCRI at Vitla had told the scientists that as different brands of fungicides were available in market claiming to be able to control the kole roga, farmers were not sure about their side effects on the health of the palms.
Trial spray by some farmers has revealed contradictory results. Some said the fungicides had helped in controlling the disease, others said that palms had turned yellow. The CPCRI and the Department of Horticulture have clarified that they had not recommended any new brands of spray other than the traditional mixture of copper sulphate and lime to control the disease.
2013 Compensations :
Kole roga hitting vast tracts of arecanut plantations made the headlines in the monsoon of 2013, forcing the government to declare a Rs. 30-crore compensation to the farmers. Referring to the control of yellow leaf disease (YLD) in arecanut palms, The CPCRI director had planted YLD-resistant tissue-cultured seedlings of arecanut near Sullia four years ago on a pilot basis. So far they had not been affected by the YLD. The institute would have to wait for another six years before drawing a conclusion and recommend the tissue-cultured seedlings for planting. The CPCRI scientists recently held an interaction with farmers in Koppa and Sringeri whose plantations were affected by the YLD.