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Agriculture ministry to tackle lethal disease

Published:Wednesday | March 26, 2008 | 2:16 PM

Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Christopher Tufton said the ministry is moving to tackle the lethal yellowing disease, which has been affecting coconut plants.

The lethal yellowing disease results in the premature drop of most of the nut and a blackening of newly opened flower stalks.

The disease also results in the leaves of the plant turning yellow or brown and the fall of the entire crown, leaving the bare trunk.

Dr. Tufton said while the disease cannot be cured, the ministry has started an educational campaign aimed at increasing coconut farmers’ awareness.

He said the lethal yellowing disease is a problem to some farmers especially in St. Thomas. The disease has also been detected in Portland, St. Mary, Westmoreland and in St. James.

Dr. Tufton said farmers whose plants have been affected would be given free coconut plants for replanting.