Aurangabad, Sep 14 (PTI) A farmer from Paithan in Maharashtra's Aurangabad district uprooted his pomegranate cultivation comprising 600 trees on four acres after it was damaged by an infection called 'oily spot'.
Incidentally, farmer Mahesh Lembhe's farm is in Murma village, part of Maharashtra Horticulture Minister Sandipan Bhumre's Paithan Assembly seat.
Oily spot, called 'telya rog' among farmers in Maharashtra, is a bacterial infection in which small, irregular, water-soaked, black spots overrun the shrub and fruit.
It has been damaging pomegranate cultivation in large numbers over the years since it was first reported in Delhi in 1952.
'The oily spot infection destroyed my pomegranates. I had no option but to uproot all 600 trees on my 4-acre farm last week. Pulling them out using an earthmover itself cost me Rs 10,000. Last year, I had sold the produce in Solapur and earned almost Rs 3.5 lakh,' he told PTI on Monday.
'This year has been a disaster since the infection began a month ago. Traders were unwilling to give me even Rs 1 per kilogram for the produce. I have crop insurance and now my only hope is my claim is paid to me in time,' Lembhe added.
Paithan Agriculture Officer Sandeep Shirsath said the total area under fruit production in the taluka is 8000 hectares, of which pomegranate takes up 600-700 hectares.
'The moist climate currently is conducive for the spread of oily spot. We are receiving reports of it from different parts of the taluka and expert help will be arranged to overcome the problem,' the official said. PTI AW BNM BNM