Yellow Rust Disease Destroys Wheat Crop in Northern India

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A wheat disease known as Yellow rust damages more than 24,000 acres of crops in northern India. Poor farmers are panicking from the financial losses they are facing.

A wheat disease called yellow rust has destroyed about 60 percent of wheat plantations in Kathua, located in India's northern Jammu and Kashmir state.

Farmers are worried about the situation, as most of them cannot afford pesticides. They say the government should be of more assistance.

[Rakesh Kumar Sharma, Farmer]:
"The disease (yellow rust) has affected our crops and the demand for our crops dropped and all our efforts were vain. No government officers came to help us nor did anyone else come here to tell us how to deal with the situation."

More than 24,000 acres of wheat are affected by yellow rust, and farmers are facing huge losses.

However, the district agriculture department says it is taking steps to control the situation.

[Charan Singh Bhagat, Chief Agriculture Officer, Kathua]:
"Our field functionary is going to every village and to every farmer to educate them and to make them aware of the disease."

Bhagat added the department had started distributing pesticides and spray pumps to farmers at heavily subsidized rates.

The officials blamed heavy, unseasonal rains for the disease.

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