Under attack

Rubber plantations in India's northeastern states are now under attack from various diseases such as oidium secondary leaf fall (SLF). The rubber plantation in the region was undertaken by the private sector to control jhum cultivation. A study conducted by the government in Mizoram revealed that the SLF disease was found to attack the plants between the months of June and September. The disease was first reported in 1994. Another disease, the pink SLF, is also rampant in the Northeast. This disease regularly occurs in almost all rubber growing regions in Kerala and adjoining districts of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu during the monsoons and causes considerable damage to the rubber plantation. Like the oidium SLF, the first incidence of the pink SLF was reported in the Northeast in 1994. Though the growth and yield of rubber plantations are reported to be greatly affected, the exact extent of crop loss has not been estimated so far.