Red Rot is being reported in sugarcane crops in major cultivating regions of Uttar Pradesh. Lakhimpur Kheri, Pilibhit, Moradabad, Bijnor and Amroha are among the worst hit. According to officials in the UP cane department, the disease occurs when one particular variety is sown for a long time and not changed.
90% of 46 lakh cane farmers in the state cultivate the CO 0238 variety of sugarcane, as its yield is 2.5 times more than regular ones.
UP additional cane commissioner, VK Shukla, said on Saturday, “Currently, over 29 lakh hectares in the state are under cane cultivation. Lately, we’ve found red rot in Lakhimpur, Pilibhit, Moradabad and Bijnor districts and launched an awareness campaign. We’re appealing to farmers to sow cane only after seed and soil treatment. Farmers should not rely on one particular variety. This time, red rot has been detected in ‘CO 0238 variety’, mainly grown by the state’s farmers.”
A scientist at Nagina Agriculture Research Centre, KK Singh, added, “Red rot is the most destructive disease for sugarcane growers. It is caused by the fungus ‘Colletotrichum falcatum’. Red and white patches are found on the cane. It then produces an alcoholic smell and the cane is split open. The fungus that causes the disease is spread by wind, rain and insects. We have found several affected fields in Bijnor alone.”