SHOPIAN: A scab infection is attacking apple crop in south Kashmir, adding to woes of farmers, who are already facing a terrible time due to uncertain situation and communications blockade in the Valley.
The ‘secondary stage scab infection’ has spread in the apple crop in several areas of southern Kashmir. Experts say the infection was old, but spread after September 15.
The disease, orchardists say, has surfaced after many years and left a big scar on the fruit.
A Horticulture expert said the infection spreads even after packing the fruit and spreads to unaffected fruit as well. An immediate spray of any systemic fungicide, he said, can stop the infection from spreading.
“There is no such fungicide which can recover the damages but the systemic fungicides at this stage can prevent the infection from affecting more fruit,” he said.
Gowhar Ahmad Thoker, an apple farmer from Shopian said that 40 per cent of farmers in his village have been impacted by the infection. He said the infection would add to the losses of the farmers already beaten down by the uncertain situation.
Farmers said that in previous years the disease had remained at bay to large extent but continuous rains in early summer this year caused it to “break out with all force” in south Kashmir.
Earlier, locals said, heavy rains in summer had also led to fruit rot on the trees besides causing scab and red mite.