Saturday, May 7, 2016

Wheat blast

Wheat blast, an agricultural disease, first identified in South America, is caused by the fungus 'Magnaporthe oryzae' which thrives in hot and humid conditions. It poses the following threats:-
1. It can infect huge areas of cultivation resulting in more than 75% yield loss. This loss in agricultural productivity is a major blow to the farmers and to the economy as as a whole.
2. Burning of huge areas if infected standing crops causes environmental pollution. 
3. Contributes towards food scarcity and disease outbreak with disastrous consequences among millions of malnourished people as the disease targets rice and wheat which forms the staple diet of many.
Though India produces blast-resistant varieties of crop, yet it faces potential danger from lurking disease threat as recently reported in Bangladesh. The following measures will help to encounter any adverse situation:-
1.Strict quarantine norms including ban on import of wheat from Bangladesh till their non-infection is authenticated.
2.Exporting blast resistant varieties to South American countries to enable the disease to be uprooted from its point of origin.
3. Directing eastern states of West Bengal and Assam to suspend wheat cultivation in border areas as a precautionary measure.
Active research and developmental activities on the mechanism of the disease causing fungus will help to contain it before it spreads on an epidemic scale.

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