Wilt disease devastates tomato crop in Mysuru despite high prices

Farmers are struggling to break even as their tomato crops, heavily affected by wilt disease, yield far less than expected despite initial efforts and investments.
Farmers are struggling to break even as their tomato crops, are heavily affected by wilt disease.
Farmers are struggling to break even as their tomato crops, are heavily affected by wilt disease.(File Photo | EPS)

MYSURU: Tomato prices might have touched Rs 100 a kg. But this is no good news for farmers as their crop has been hit by wilt disease.

The farmers now fear that they may not even get back the money invested in tomato cultivation. Initially, they hoped that they would be lucky this time too like last year when tomato prices skyrocketed to Rs 160 a kg.

The farmers had to struggle to raise tomato plants during March-April when the weather was harsh. They, however, managed to protect the plants by watering them regularly. 

Besides, the farmers had to spend a lot on fertilizers and pesticides to protect the plants and ensure their healthy growth.

However, the incessant rain in the past 10 days and sudden change in weather conditions led to the wilt disease in plants at the time of flowering and fruit-bearing. At this stage, even pesticides will be of little help.

The disease spreads very fast and kills the plant within a few days.

“We used to harvest 10 to 12 times and get more than 600 boxes of tomatoes on five acres of land. But this time, we were able to harvest only 120 boxes of tomatoes three times because of the disease,” Mahesh, a farmer, said.

He said, “We sold tomatoes for Rs 55-60 a kg and efforts are on now to protect the plants from the disease.”

Agriculture officers said high humidity levels and sudden changes in weather conditions due to rain, bringing down the temperature by 10 to 12 degrees Celsius, led to the wilt attack.

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