Source: News Bharati English07 Mar 2017 11:45:10

Kolkata, March 7: Agriculture is the forte of India and West Bengal is among the top 10 wheat producing states. According to the Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR), a fungal disease ‘wheat blast’ is reported to have struck the standing crops in the state.The wheat blast has attacked the standing crops in some regions of Nadia and Murshidabad districts of West Bengal. Due to this, approximately 400 hectare of the wheat crop has been cut and burnt in two blocks in Nadia. The plants that were infected in the Tehatta and Chapra areas were also destroyed as a caution against these diseases. The agricultural experts also advised farmers to spray medicines on less affected fields.

As per ICAR, the disease is said to have entered in these districts from the neighbouring country of Bangladesh. However, farmers across most districts of Bihar and West Bengal sow the HD 2967 variety of wheat. This variety has built capacity to fight with such types of fungus.

Moreover, yellow rust disease that is common in the northern regions has stayed away from impacting the wheat crop this year. Though, the agricultural scientists have confirmed that this scenario is not worrisome as the standing crops across the state have not been impacted by the fungal disease.

As per these experts, the weather conditions are favourable for the wheat crops and the farmers can brace for a good harvest this season. In the current Rabi season, (2016-2017), wheat has been sown on 31.78 million hectares of land which is 5% more than the average acreage area as compared with the last five years. The second advance also estimated the wheat output to be a record-breaking 96.64 million tonnes. Though, the fungal disease is not likely to cause any major damages to the standing crops harvesting which is scheduled to begin within a few weeks.

Indian Institute of wheat and barley, a Karnal-based institute has observed that limited occurrences of yellow rust in wheat had been observed in the variety HD2967 in Punjab and in Jammu. However, the state of western Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan including the foothills of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand has not witnessed any yellow rust disease.