Rubber plantations have been advised to be vigilant and be on the active lookout for any signs of the leaf disease, Pestalotiopsis, a threat that could impact industry output.
With rubber plantations in Malaysia, India, Thailand, Cameroon and Papua New Guinea already witnessing a considerable yield loss due to the fungus, the Colombo Rubber Traders’ Association (CRTA) asserted that local stakeholders must be on full alert.
“All stakeholders are requested to be vigilant about this threat to the rubber plantation and they are strongly advised to get the assistance of scientists of the RRI in any emergency," CTRA said today.
The Rubber Research Institute (RRI) will help plantations to correctly identify the Pestalotiopsis affected trees from trees defoliated due to wintering, it added.
The association warned the disease may reach epidemic proportions in coming monsoon period of this year starting from mid-April.
Pestalotiopsis was considered a mild pathogen until recent times. The most recent outbreak was in 2019 where the epidemic affected plantations in Kalutara, Ratnapura and Galle districts.
High humidity favours the spread of the disease causing defoliation and a considerable yield loss and ultimately the death of the tree.