Blight destroys pomegranate crop in Tumkur district

By TheHindu on 20 Nov 2016 | read
Wasted effort: More than 1,500 growers in Tumkur district are in despair as bacterial blight has destroyed the pomegranate crop. Wasted effort: More than 1,500 growers in Tumkur district are in despair as bacterial blight has destroyed the pomegranate crop.

Pomegranate crop in Tumkur district has been completely destroyed because of “bacterial blight” causing loss to growers. More than 1,500 farmers are in despair as they are unable to get even their investment back.

The crop is grown on 3,100 acres of land mainly in Pavagada and Sira taluks and in parts of Madhugiri taluk. The farmers and their families depend on the crop for their livelihood.

“Bacterial blight” has affected leaves, stem and fruits and it is now impossible to find healthy fruits. Though many farmers invested lakhs of rupees on pesticides to save their crop, it has been of no use.

Farmers normally incur an expenditure of Rs. 1 lakh to cultivate the crop in one acre of land. The earnings expected per acre yield based on the market rate is Rs. 3 lakh to Rs. 4 lakh

Many farmers have taken loans from banks and are in trouble. In view of the crop loss, they are unable to repay loan.

‘Loss 100 p.c.'

Taluk president of Pavagada Dalimbe Belagarara Sangha Veeranjaneya told The Hindu that the crop loss is 100 per cent. Farmers who have taken loan are being pressured by bank officials to repay loan. Banks, he said, are not allowing farmers to withdraw money kept in their savings bank account.

Several scientists from agriculture universities and also from the Horticulture Department told farmers to spray pesticides during the onset of the disease. However, it has only increased farmers' debt level. The loan taken by farmers, including interest, has increased four times of the principal amount.

Pomegranate grower Vageesh said, “I had taken Rs. 8.7 lakh loan and the amount, including interest, has gone up to Rs. 21 lakh.” He added that he had placed his house as security and now he has to sell his land to pay his debt.

‘No medicine'

Deputy Director of Horticulture Department, Tumkur, B.N. Prasad, said that there is no medicine to eliminate the disease which can only be managed. He added that as it was an air-borne bacteria, it was difficult to stop its spread.

Ramadas, pomegranate grower from Sira, said that the Government should now help clear their debts.

Deputy Commissioner C. Somashekar said that he has written to Principal Secretary of Horticulture Department recommending for compensation to farmers who have incurred losses due to the disease.

  • Crop is grown on 3,100 acres of land in the district
  • Though farmers used pesticides, it has been of no use

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