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Mysterious disease killing summer tomato plants in Dinajpur: Farmers call it 'heart attack' as they die within hours of infection

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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Our Correspondent, Dinajpur



Sudden death of tomato plants, following appearance of a strange disease, worries the growers at the early stage of summer tomato cultivation in different areas of Dinajpur district this season. The photo was taken from Baltoir in DinajpurSadar upazila yesterday. PHOTO: STAR



A mysterious disease is wreaking havoc to the summer tomato plants in the district at the early stage of its cultivation.

Tomato is usually a winter vegetable but its late variety, known as summer tomato, is cultivated from early February to mid-March, and harvesting starts in May.

Around 1,613 hectares of land has been brought under summer tomato farming in different upazilas of Dinajpur, said officials of the Department Agriculture Extension (DAE) in Dinajpur.

Farmers said that they spent around Tk 1 lakh for farming summer tomatoes on an acre of land with hope to produce 30 to 35 tonnes from there.

“But much to our frustration, a mysterious disease is killing the plant fast, said MdRajib, a farmer of Gabura village under Dinajpur Sadar upazila.

“We named the disease ‘heart attack’ as the plant dies within hours after detection of the disease,” added MdRafiqul Islam of Kawgaon village of the same upazila.

During a visit of Panchbari, Kawgaon and Gabura villages under DinajpurSadarupazila, this correspondent saw dead tomato plants on large areas of land.

The farmers said they are yet to get any solution regarding the matter despite contacting block supervisors and officials of DAE.

“We are applying some medicines, but it is not working,” said Golap Mia, a tomato grower of Panchbibi village.

When contacted, AnwarulAlam, deputy director of Dinajpur DAE, said, “As I have learnt, symptoms of the disease are similar to those of welting disease. It has attacked tomato fields in different areas of the district. The block supervisors concerned have been advised to help the farmers.”

Our Jamalpur correspondent adds: Bumper yield of tomato on char (landmass emerged from riverbed) areas of Brahmaputra River basin in JamalpurSadarupazila fails to make the growers happy as they are not getting fair prices.

Encouraged by good prices during the last couple of years, farmers grew tomato on more areas of land this season and 1783 acres of land, mostly on char lands of Narundi, Lakkhirchar, Tulshirchar and Sharifpur unions in Sadarupazila, were brought under its cultivation, sources said.

This season hybrid varieties of the popular vegetable, including safal, lovely, unnayan and udayon, saw 100-125 maunds of yield per bigha, which is much higher than the usual expectation, said farmers and sources of the Sadarupazila agriculture office.

But the produce is now selling at local wholesale markets for a meagreTk 120-180 per maund, making the growers worry about recovery of their production cost, let alone profit.

This season farmers in the area cultivated tomato late due to recurrent floods and so, they could not reap the item when the market price was high, said farmers and sources at the upazila agriculture office.




Source: thedailystar






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