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Pokkah Beong: A new major threat for the Sugarcane Farmers

Saumy Deepak Tripathi
Saumy Deepak Tripathi

As the Kharif Season is ongoing and the farmers are working hard despite the threats of coronavirus and the losses sustained during the lockdown. The conditions have been far from good for the farmers but estimates of a record production provide hope.

Due to this chaos, an issue that has gone under the radar is the Pokkah Beong. Farmers in Uttar Pradesh are worried about its effects on their sugarcane crops. Pokkah Beong is an airborne fungal disease that is primarily caused by two fungus, Fusarium monoliforme, and Fusarium subglutinans.

The disease targets the base of the plants and turns the base of the crops into a yellowish tinge (chlorosis) which ultimately damages the crops. The symptoms also include distortion of the stalk and the rotting of the apical part of the stalk.

It is always advised to spray the fields with pesticides as soon as signs of the disease appear to minimise the yield loss of the crops. There are different types of pokkah beong and while sugarcane can resist most of the varieties, some varieties are lethal.

Pookah Beong can be a serious concern for the farmer as Sugarcane is a crop that provides huge revenues to the farmers and provides good yield. The research titled ”Pokkah Beong: An Emerging Disease of Sugarcane” found that the sugarcane production of farmers was affected between 1-90%. It also said that incidents of Pokkah Beong were not only reported in Uttar Pradesh but also Maharashtra, Punjab, Haryana, Assam, Tamil Nadu, and Bihar.

One of the main reasons that the disease has become a major concern is because of the recent changes that the fungus has gone through that makes it more resistant to high temperatures and other external factors.

However, an early response can save almost all the produce and thus the farmers must be educated on this matter to adopt measures to save sugarcane from the menace of Pokkah Beong.

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