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New okro disease breaks out, many farms infected

Scientists at the National Horticultural Research Institute (NIHORT) have detected a new virus disease attacking okro farms across the...

Scientists at the National Horticultural Research Institute (NIHORT) have detected a new virus disease attacking okro farms across the country. 

According to a statement by the management of the institute, reports were being received from farmers across the country concerning the new and uncommon virus-like symptoms on okra farms leading to rapid disease outbreaks resulting in more than 70% loss of okra plants.  

Okro is a common vegetable extensively cultivated in Nigeria for its high economic and nutritive value. It is grown in most parts of the country on both large and subsistent scales creating income for farmers and constitutes a veritable source of nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and protein. 

The institute said observation by a multidisciplinary team from NIHORT on ad hoc visits to okra farms revealed unusual symptoms in okra that consist of leaf curl associated with nations or outgrowths which were distinct from the usual leaf curl and/or vein yellowing symptoms known with virus-infected okra plants. 

The institute said the epidemic has assumed a nationwide occurrence having been reported in Oyo, Ogun, Osun, Ondo, Ekiti, Lagos (South West) and Niger states.

It advised farmers to look out for the symptoms of the new disease, which include a high population of aphids and leafhoppers (vectors); and initial expression of small pin-head enations or outgrowths on the undersurface of okra leaves.

The institute listed some interim control measures that could be adopted including spraying the okra farm(s) with synthetic insecticide at 20ml/15lt of water weekly under severe infestations, while research is being intensified on developing a sustainable Integrated Pest Management (IPM) package to arrest the new virus.

 

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