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Teams sent for early intervention to prevent late blight from hitting potato cultivation

Teams sent for early intervention to prevent late blight from hitting potato cultivation

Kolkata: In a bid to avert late blight from hitting potato cultivation, the Bengal government has sent teams to three districts as part of the state's early intervention programme after receiving reports of late blight symptoms in potato crop.

State Agriculture department chief advisor Pradip Mazumdar said: "The state government is concerned about climate change and we have sent teams to Bankura, West Midnapore and Burdwan districts for taking preventive measures and keeping a close watch on the situation."

The move comes in the wake of reports of potatoes getting affected by late blight disease in some parts of the state.

Late blight is a disease responsible for the Irish potato famine in the mid-nineteenth century, it is caused by the fungus-like oomycete pathogen Phytophthora infestans. It can infect and destroy the leaves, stems, fruits, and tubers of potato and tomato plants. It had hit potato cultivators of the state in 2014. In the current crop season, potato production is expected to be 105 lakh tonnes even as cultivation area is down by 2-3 percent.

"We are offering potato at Rs 17 per kg which is retailing at Rs 25 per kg and distributing onions at Rs 59 a kg when it had crossed Rs 150 a kg," said state Agriculture Marketing minister Tapan Dasgupta. With the prices of Chandramukhi potatoes going up to Rs 30 per kg, farmers and local administrations in various districts, particularly in Burdwan, are now eyeing at Pukhraj potatoes to provide customers with an affordable option. A task force constituted by the state government to monitor the price of essential commodities assured on Sunday that the price of potatoes will drop to Rs 15 per kg within a week. A report has been submitted to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in this regard.

Jyoti potatoes are being sold in markets at Rs 25 per kg, while Chandramukhi is being sold at Rs 30 per kg. Pukhraj potatoes are mainly cultivated in different parts of East Burdwan and the price of these potatoes is lesser.

Team MP

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