Despite the repeated attempts of local agriculture officers, a cure for the disease has still not been found, which has led many to fear significant losses in gourd farming
Farmers in some upazilas of Kushtia are worried about the new Gummy Stem Blight disease infecting scores of gourd plants and negatively affecting production this year.
Upon inspection, many gourd plants in Fulbaria and Mirpur upazilas were found rotting, several even dying, because of the disease known to be a cucurbit-rot disease caused by a fungal infection.
Despite the repeated attempts of local agriculture officers, a cure for the disease has still not been found, which has led many to fear significant losses in gourd farming.
According to the district's Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE), gourd was cultivated this year in Mirpur upazila on close to 45 hectares of land.
Abdul Jabbar, a Mirpur upazila farmer, said he earned Tk70,000 farming gourd on 0.33 hectares last year.
"But this year, many of my gourd plants have perished due to some disease," he said, adding: "when they matured to a few feet in height, their stems began to rot and slowly die. Gourd farmers nearby were also facing the same, when local agriculture officials came to take a look. They prescribed methods to eliminate the disease but we are yet to implement those."
Ali Malitha, another farmer in Mirpur, said his gourd plants simply died soon after they reached the height of the bamboo platform. He feared a loss of Tk50,000 due to the disease.
Masud Parvez, assistant agriculture officer in Mirpur upazila, said they had inspected the affected gourd trees and informed DAE officials accordingly.
Ramesh Chandra Ghosh, DAE officer in the upazila said the disease could attack a host plant at any stage of growth and it affects all parts of the host, including leaves, stems, and fruits.
He added that although Gummy Stem Blight flourishes in moderate weather conditions, it can be prevented if farmers use disease free seeds and lime (chun) that can prevent the disease from spreading.