Agri Business

Growers seek development of YLD-resistant arecanut variety

AJ Vinayak Mangaluru | Updated on October 06, 2021

Yellow leaf disease gradually making an impact in different parts of Karnataka

Arecanut growers have urged the Government to focus on the development of YLD-resistant (yellow leaf disease) variety of arecanut in Karnataka.

Mahesh Puchhappady, General Secretary of the All-India Areca Growers’ Association (AIAGA), told BusinessLine that the Prime Minister had recently released 35 new varieties of different crops to meet the aspirations of the farmers. Now arecanut farmers also want a YLD-resistant variety to tackle the disease in their plantations.

Stating that YLD is gradually making an impact in different parts of Karnataka, he said there is a need to develop YLD-resistant variety of arecanut. A few plants in the affected regions are immune to YLD, hence scientists should explore developing new varieties based on such plants, he said.

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Puchhappady said YLD was first noticed in Kerala in 1914. All these years, the disease was predominantly seen in Sullia region of Dakshina Kannada district, and Koppa and Sringeri regions of Chikmagalur district in Karnataka. But now farmers are witnessing YLD in other parts of the State also, he said. This has created panic among farmers in those regions who are dependent on arecanut for their livelihood.

Appeal for financial aid

Though the Kasaragod-based Central Plantation Crops Research Institute (CPCRI) has a regional station at Vittal in Dakshina Kannada district of Karnataka, it lacks facility to do research on YLD, he said, adding that inadequate funding is also one of the reasons for lack of focus on YLD research.

Highlighting the role of arecanut in strengthening the economy of several districts in Karnataka, he said AIAGA has submitted a memorandum to the elected representatives of YLD-affected regions urging the Karnataka government to extend financial assistance to find a solution to YLD in arecanut plantations, including the development of YLD-resistant arecanut variety.

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Though CPCRI has submitted a project to the Karnataka Horticulture Department on the need to establish a disease diagnostic laboratory for YLD at CPCRI’s Vittal Regional Station and on the management of the disease, the Karnataka government is yet to give its approval, Puchhappady said.

YLD in a nutshell

According to scientists, yellowing of leaves is the symptom of this disease. The disease is caused by the bacteria phytoplasma. The kernel of the nuts of YLD-affected palms becomes soft, showing blackish discolouration, leading to a spongy texture. YLD is transmitted by the planthopper insect Proutista moesta.

Since it is not possible to control the disease through conventional measures, farmers resort to removal of the YLD-affected plants.

The disease affects areca palms of all age groups, leading to decline in plant’s productivity.

Published on October 05, 2021

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