10) ICRISAT Helps Andhra Pradesh Government Tackle Groundnut Virus Epidemic (September 2000)

At the request of the Government of Andhra Pradesh, India, ICRISAT Virologist Dr D V R Reddy helped assess the extent of the bud necrosis disease that is devastating groundnut crops in over 800 000 hectares in the groundnut belt of the State and made suggestions to alleviate the situation. Dr Reddy accompanied the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh Mr Chandrababu Naidu and other ministers of the State Assembly on an assessment tour of the affected areas.

The State Government has asked for ICRISAT's help, because the Institute has done pioneering work in the identification of the causal virus and in evolving strategies for disease management.

After discussions with farmers, agricultural extension workers, and scientists, ICRISAT presented information on short- and long-term strategies to manage this disease.

ICRISAT has recommended that spraying with the organophosphorus insecticide monocrotophos would not be beneficial. Instead, resources could be used to help farmers adopt alternatives.

ICRISAT has developed groundnut cultivars with resistance to bud necrosis disease. It can immediately multiply these short-duration cultivars and supply them to farmers. It will also help determine the factors that lead to such outbreaks. This information will be crucial to forecast such epidemics, and take measures in advance to minimize losses caused by the disease.

“In partnership with the National Agricultural Research System and the State Government, we will be initiating steps to investigate this problem on a war footing and come up with strategies for integrated management of the disease,” ICRISAT Director General Dr William Dar said. “This will be part of a Quick Response Initiative from the Institute and its partners to bring timely solutions to such epidemics, especially relating to ICRISAT mandate crops,” he added.

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