Disease, seeds blamed for wheat yield fall

KHOST CITY (PAN): Wheat production has decreased in southeastern Khost province this year for different reasons, officials said on Monday.
The yield fell due to heavy rainfall that caused the rust disease to the crop and import of seeds that did not local climatic conditions.
Hailstorms also negatively impinged on this year’s wheat yield, Extension Manager of Agriculture Noor Shahbaz told Pajhwok Afghan News.
If proper seed varieties compatible with Nangarhar’s climate and soil were not introduced, the production for next year would decline by five percent, he warned.
Rust is a fungal disease that affects wheat plant stems, leaves and grains, causing a weak spike, black grain and bitter taste, said an agriculturist, Eng. Mir Nawaz Ilham.
A resident of Lakno, Mahmud Shah, said his farms would produce 8,400 kilograms of wheat in past years, but in 2013 the yield slumped to 2,800 kg.
Without giving the area of his land, he approached the Department of Agriculture in a bid to control the disease, but no one assisted him, the farmer complained.
In the past 20 years, it was the first of time his wheat crop was hit by the disease, said a grower from Sabari district, Zahir Khan. He asked officials and donors to help farmers of the province.

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