ERJ staff report (BC)
Agartala, India – Immature rubber plants (two to four years old) are drying up in India's northeastern region owing to prolonged dry weather, reports the Economic Times from an Indo-Asian News Service source.
Growers are worried about their produce, an official is reported to have said on 16 April.
The symptoms begin with yellowing of the leaves, and eventually branches become partially or completely dry.
Growers have been advised to provide shade to young rubber plants until the usual rains arrive. The main trunk of the plant can be whitewashed with clay to protect it from direct sun. Mulching can also be provided at the base of the plants.
Weather experts said the prevailing dry weather in the pre-monsoon period (March-May) is abnormal. In most parts of India’s northeastern region, except Arunachal Pradesh, there has been a substantial rainfall deficit.
In India's northeast, especially Tripura state, rubber cultivation is reported to be yielding a better life for poor tribal people, who were practicing 'jhum' or the slash-and-burn method of cultivation.
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