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Banana crop under viral attack 

KARACHI (August 08 2002) : Banana Bunchy Top Virus (BBTV) has once again attacked banana plants in lower Sindh, damaging its standing crop.

Prominent scientist and researcher M H Panhwar told APP here on Wednesday that the viral attack is currently on a small scale but enough to cause sufficient damage to banana crop.

Panhwar is the recipient of Sitar-e-Imtiaz and life-time achievement award conferred recently on him for his research work in the field of agriculture.

He said that the virus is carried by a pest "aphid" which survives on banana plant. Aphid is carried by the winds and dies when the wind borne for two to three hours and when it does not land on banana plant. No banana is immune to BBTV and there is no cure for the disease from any pesticide.

Panhwar said that the upper Sindh is saved from the attack of BBTV as it cannot travel to this area. But the banana cannot survive in cold climate of upper Sindh.

He suggested that scouting is must to check the intensity of attack. Similarly, PTV should prepare a video film of the affected areas to show the intensity of attack to the farmers in its programme "Kissan Time." The video should have guidelines for identifying aphid, BBTV and how to control their spread.

Agriculture Department must also prepare poster, providing guidelines to banana growers in the province. Talking of the preventive measures to control spread of BBTV, Panhwar said the affected banana plant should be sprayed with kerosene oil and dumped under the ground.

He was of the opinion that banana farmers must be provided training to combat the disease.

He said that the banana crop used to cover an area of about 200,000 acres producing 600,000 tonnes of fruit in the province. Now the area has been squeezed to one-third only due to viral attacks in the past. The BBTV had damaged all the crop of banana in Sindh in 1991.

Courtesy Business Recorder;

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