Agri Business

CPCRI initiates research on YLD-resistant arecanut variety

AJ Vinayak Mangaluru | Updated on October 19, 2021

Farmers had requested CPCRI to conduct research into plants exhibiting immunity to YLD

Following requests from farmers to take up research on the development of an arecanut variety resistant to yellow leaf disease (YLD), the Central Plantation Crops Research Institute (CPCRI) has put its scientists to work on the project.

Mahesh Puchhappady, General Secretary of the All-India Areca Growers’ Association (AIAGA), told BusinessLine that YLD has been affecting many arecanut plantations in some parts of Karnataka. However, a few plants in such plantations are immune to YLD. Considering this, farmers from the affected region had requested CPCRI to conduct research on this to develop a YLD-resistant variety.

He said the CPCRI Director (acting), Anita Karun, and her team of scientists had visited various arecanut plantations in the YLD-affected regions of Dakshina Kannada district a few days ago. At that time, she had promised to take up research on a disease-resistant variety of arecanut.

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He added that CPCRI scientist, Bhavishya, has now begun the process of identifying healthy plants in the YLD-affected region for further research. Bhavishya visited some arecanut plantations in Sampaje of Dakshina Kannada district and Chembu of Kodagu district on Monday.

Studying healthy plants

Quoting Ramesh Delampady, a farmer from the YLD-affected region who has been working closely with CPCRI team in this project, Puchhappady said the scientists have set some parameters for the selection of healthy plants from YLD-affected regions.

Healthy plants (in the age group of 25 years) will be selected from the YLD hotspots. They will be selected from plantations that have been facing the YLD for at least 15-20 years. The selected plants should be in a position to bear arecanut.

Such selected plants will be further subjected intensive observation and research for another two years leading to final selection. Steps will be taken to develop the disease-resistant variety after that selection, he said.

YLD

Caused by the bacteria phytoplasma, arecanut leaves turn yellow when afflicted with this disease. Kernel of the nuts of YLD-affected palms become soft, showing blackish discolouration and leading to a spongy texture. The disease is transmitted by the plant-hopper insect Proutista moesta.

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Since the disease is not possible to control by conventional measures, farmers remove YLD-affected plants from their plantations. The disease affects areca palms of all age groups leading to a decline in the plant’s productivity.

YLD in arecanut plantations was first noticed in Kerala in 1914. It was predominantly seen in Sullia region of Dakshina Kannada district, and Koppa and Sringeri regions of Chikmagalur district in Karnataka all these years. Puchhappady said farmers are now witnessing YLD in other parts of the State also.

Published on October 19, 2021

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