Blight smashes hopes of potato growers

By TheHindu on 25 Mar 2017 | read
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Vishwa Kundapura

Inclement weather ruins potato and tomato crops on vast tracts of land in Kolar

KOLAR: Potato is a major horticulture crop of Kolar district. It is being cultivated on about 8,975 hactares of land in five taluks of the district.

However, hundreds of potato growers in the district are in distress because of blight (angamari) infecting the crop.

The cloudy weather and off-season rain in the past few weeks has smashed the hopes of potato as well as tomato growers.

Many farmers in the district are opting for potato cultivation as the prices of this vegetable crop stabilised for the past couple of years. But to their utter dismay, the nature has played truant.

Desperate

Desperation was such that scores of farmers are uprooting the fully grown potato plants in their fields apparently realising that they were not going to reap any yield from the disease afflicted plants.

“I have spent about Rs. 50,000 to sow potato in five acres of land. Besides that, the expenditure for maintenance, including administering pesticides, exceeded Rs. 20,000,” Muniyappa, a farmer of Gandhinagar, said.

“But for the inclement weather, I would have reaped bumper harvest,” he added. He ploughed his field at Kodikannur to remove the disease-afflicted plants.

Colloquially known as angamari, the disease has caused huge loss to this farmer for the four years now. Notwithstanding it, he again sowed the seeds by availing loans with the hope of reaping good crop this time around at least.

In Mulbagal taluk, which has the highest area under potato cultivation, the situation is no different. Although the seeds sown in August survived the disease threat, the one sown in September faced threat from angamari. About 1,000 farmers took up potato cultivation in Mulbagal taluk and they are now worried.

Several farmers alleged that they did not receive any relief money from the Government in lieu of crop loss last year despite insuring groundnut and potato in nationalised banks.

They were apprehensive about getting relief this time too.

Subsidy sought

Shankarappa, a farmer from Sonnavadi village in Mulbagal taluk, demands that the Government should supply pesticides to potato growers at subsidised rates to mitigate their woe to some extent.

Meanwhile, the Agriculture Science Centre at Kurabur in Chintamani taluk has provided a number of tips to farmers to protect potato and tomato from angamari disease.

For details, farmers can call 08154-290554.

 

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