Fungal disease hits Himachal wheat crop

March 30th, 2011 - 4:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Shimla, March 30 (IANS) A fungal disease called ‘yellow rust’ has severely affected the wheat crop in the lower hills of Himachal Pradesh, Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal admitted here Wednesday.

“Yellow rust has hit the wheat crop. Its effect was seen more acutely in 16,941 hectares,” Dhumal, who holds the agriculture portfolio, said in the assembly. He attributed the rise in fungal diseases to high humidity during winter with fluctuating temperatures.

Dhumal said the disease had also severely affected the wheat crop in northern states, including Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.

He said the PBW-343 seed variety was more prone to the infection compared to other varieties.

“But now the disease is almost under control. From next year, the agriculture department would not disburse the PBW-343 seed variety among farmers,” Dhumal said.

Congress legislator Yog Raj said 60 percent of the wheat crop has been damaged in the state. He blamed the government for supplying substandard seeds.

The farmers of Mandi, Kangra, Una and Hamirpur districts have sown three hybrid wheat seed varieties PBW-502, PBW-343, PBW-373 this year.

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