Big onion crop hit by fungus

By Jayantha Wickremaarachchi

KARUWALAGASWEWA: Big onion farmers in the Neelabemma colony in Saliyawewa are in a quandary this season as they have had a poor harvest.

A pest seems to have attacked the plants with the result the produce is rotting. All remedial measures are said to be ending in failure, lament the farmers who fear the pest may spread further.

Top: the affected onions. Below: Carrying away the leaves

According to the records in the agriculture office in the area, the cultivation covers more than 100 acres and the major part of this area is affected by the disease.

The next harvest is only a month away and farmers fearing that the pest might spread have decided to sell the leaves before they too get affected.

Many farmers complained that their hopes of a good harvest have been shattered and now they have to be satisfied by selling only the leaves.

The farmers fear they would not be able to cover their initial expenses invested with much hope.

When the area agricultural adviser W R C Weerakkody was asked to comment, he said that a fungus had attacked the plants after the rains that came at the start of the planting season.

He said that he is giving the farmers advice as to how to stop the fungus from spreading further. He said that if the current drought situation persists, the fungus might disappear.

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