Shopian: A novel pest attack is being reported in apple farms in Shopian district causing distress among farmers. .
Experts have identified the pest as leaf miner, which destroys the leaves after forming a circular blotch on them.
According to the experts, the pest tunnels its way into the leaves, fruits, twigs and stem. Leaf miners are the foreign pests which have been reported in the Valley only a few years ago.
This disease has been reported from Zainapora, Bapora and Reshipora villages of the district.
Farooq Ahmad, an orchardist from Zainpora said that he noticed the disease a few weeks ago in his apple farm.
“Later, I saw it in many other orchards in the area”, he said.
The orchards, which have been affected by these imported pests, are mostly located around the Advanced Centre for Horticulture Development ( ACHD), where every year root stock and plant material are imported from various countries and are distributed among the farmers.
Malik Mukhtar, Associate Professor Entomology at SKUAST said that the pests enter the upper and lower surface of the leaves and damage them.
“Although the leaf miners were reported a few years ago, this year their manifestation is huge”, he said.
Meanwhile, the Department of Horticulture issued an advisory for farmers to stop the spread of this disease.