- NET Web Desk
The Agriculture minister of Meghalaya – Banteidor Lyngdoh asserted that the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) is analyzing the samples of ‘bud-rot disease’ which is severely affecting the areca nut plantations.
Anticipating for a “long-term solution to the issue”, the Minister noted that a team of specialists alongwith the departmental officials recently conducted a joint diagnostic visit to the affected villages of Umsawrang and Dangar within Mawsynram C&RD Block.
He was responding to a call attention notice put forth by Mawsynram legislator – Himalaya Shangpliang, who voiced concern over the government’s lack of action to solve the issues faced by areca nut cultivators due to the bud rot disease.
Lyngdoh stated that the state administration is concerned about the welfare of farmers in general and the areca nut farmers in particular.
“We have taken requisite measures to compensate the loss to the farmers through alternative planting material and creative techniques to lessen the effect of bud rot disease,” – informed the minister.
He mentioned that the Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare under the fruit development scheme has sanctioned 6 crore 27 lakhs for distribution of free planting material; as an immediate relief for areas affected under areca nut plantation for 2022-23.
The scheme has already being implemented; and is expected to distribute 3,02,400 banana suckers spanning across an area of 189 hectares; while 7,39,500 pineapple suckers covering 170 hectares.
In addition, the department has also kept provision for preventive measures such as sprayer, bio fungicides, biopesticides and so forth; which will be implemented following the monsoon season.
According to him, crops such as banana and pineapple are being distributed to farmers based on their location and suitability of the climatic conditions. These crops were chosen with consideration for the areca nut’s longer gestation period; thereby meeting the requirement for farmers to find a source of income.