Agriculture: Banana farmers to get technology to protect tissue culture plants from lethal fungal disease

Share this post on:

Ambuj Tripathi

Lucknow, June 06: Cultivation of banana tissue culture plants proved to be a boon in most places. However, in many places it has also been found responsible for spreading of Fusarium Wilt of Banana (FWB), popularly known as Panama disease. Due to this, the entire banana crop is ruined, but now in a trice, technology will be available to the farmers to do away with this disease.

In this regard, agricultural scientists are engaged in generating disease resistant ability to fight against this disease in the tissue culture plants.

In this regard, Dr Shailendra Rajan, Director of Central Institute of Subtropical Horticulture (CISH), Rehmankhera at Kakori in Lucknow, said that plants can be saved by treating them with ICR technology at an early stage. Pre-immunization techniques for tissue culture plants are being developed by scientists of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research Centres.

“However, using this technique, tissue culture plants generate resistance to fight against this disease. This technology will reach the farmers in 2 years. CSHI provides farmers training in banana nursery to prevent this disease,” Director CSHI informed.

Little inadvertent in tissue culture causes spreading of Panama wilt disease

Dr Shailendra Rajan apprised that it was impossible to cultivate bananas in thousands of hectares by planting new orchards traditionally by planting bananas. The use of tissue culture plants is increasing day by day, but the slightest carelessness is enough to spread the banana epidemic called Panama wilt to places where the disease was not known.

“Crops worth crores of farmers of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar are being destroyed by this disease. The bacteria of the disease spread from one place to another with irrigation water at most places and farmers came to know after many years that this terrible disease had been home in their fields. Canals and flood waters played a major role in spreading the disease, where there was no disease, the possibility of spreading from the tissue culture plant has increased,” added Ranjan.

Panama wilt likely to infect plants in Hardening Nursery

He told that for the banana growers of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, the tissue culture plant is like a boon. In such a large area, the possibility of planting new orchards in a short time for traditional production of bananas is very less. Millions of tissue culture plants are required every year in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, so it is a profitable business for many companies. After studying the Panama wilt epidemic that has been occurring in bananas over the past few years, it has been found that the main reason for the disease to appear in many new places is infected tissue culture plants. Even though the tissue culture plants of the laboratory are disease free, there is a possibility of infecting the plants with this disease in Hardening Nursery.

Farmers need special care

Dr Rajan told that in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar by the scientists of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), it was found that the disease spread due to plants from the tissue culture hardening nursery established in the diseased areas, but many remote places around which the disease was not identified was found afflicted with this disease. After receiving information from the farmers, it was found that they were supplied with plants from the diseased areas. The possibility of spreading the disease has been expressed by the plants supplied by the reputed nursery of Barabanki in Sitamarhi (Bihar).

“However, to avoid this problem, there is a need to ensure special caution and awareness among the farmers that the tissue culture plants they are planting are not coming from the hardening nursery in the infected areas,” told Director CISH.