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Traditional ecological management of late blight in potato

  • Kumar, S.
  • Sah, U.
  • Singh, P. H.

Potato is an important crop in the state of Meghalaya, India, occupying a major place in the agrarian pattern as well as in the dietary habits of the population. However, the average productivity here is only 9.2 t/ha, far below the national average of 18 t/ha. Factors like rainfed conditions, non-availability of quality seed, and high disease incidence, contribute to the present poor yield level. Potato is grown in two consecutive seasons: summer is the main potato-growing season that extends from February to June-July, while autumn extends from July-August to November-December. Through experimentation, farmers have evolved a unique way to cope with the late blight menace. They have utilised the limitations in potato cultivation to their benefit, by adopting different crop rotations in low-lying areas and on hill slopes. In low-lying areas, farmers practise a potato-paddy rotation, whereas on hill slopes a potato-potato/vegetable rotation is followed. Leisa Magazine December 2007

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