Plantation Agriculture – RISPC, Tea Act, etc.

Plantation Agriculture – RISPC, Tea Act, etc.

Seabuckthorn plantations in Himachal Pradesh


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Seabuckthorn

Mains level: Not Much

The Himachal Pradesh government has decided to start planting Seabuckthorn in the cold desert areas.

What is Seabuckthorn?

  • It’s a shrub that produces an orange-yellow coloured edible berry.
  • In India, it is found above the tree line in the Himalayan region, generally in dry areas such as the cold deserts of Ladakh and Spiti.
  • In Himachal Pradesh, it is locally called Himalayan chharma and grows in the wild in Lahaul and Spiti and parts of Kinnaur.
  • According to the Seabuckthorn Association of India, around 15,000 hectares in Himachal, Ladakh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh are covered by this plant.

Try this PYQ from CSP 2019:

Q.Recently, there was a growing awareness in our country about the importance of Himalayan nettle (Girardinia diversifolia) because it is found to be a sustainable source of

(a) anti-malarial drug

(b) biodiesel

(c) pulp for paper industry

(d) textile fibre

Benefits of the Seabuckthorn plant

(1) Medicinal benefits

  • As a folk medicine, Seabuckthorn has been widely used for treating stomach, heart and skin problems.
  • In the last few decades, scientific research worldwide has backed many of its traditional uses.
  • Its fruit and leaves are rich in vitamins, carotenoids and omega fatty acids, among other substances, and it can help troops in acclimatizing to high-altitude.

(2) Ecological benefits

  • Besides being an important source of fuelwood and fodder, Seabuckthorn is a soil-binding plant that prevents soil-erosion, checks siltation in rivers and helps preserve floral biodiversity.
  • In the Lahaul valley, where willow trees are dying in large numbers due to pest attack, this hardy shrub is a good alternative for protecting the local ecology.

(3) Commercial benefits

  • Seabuckthorn also has commercial value, as it is used in making juices, jams, nutritional capsules etc.
  • But wild Seabuckthorn cannot sustainably supply raw material to the industry, and the plant needs to be cultivated on a large scale as is being done in China.

What is the latest project?

  • The Seabuckthorn association wants the forest departments of various Himalayan states/UTs to plant Seabuckthorn on arid and marginal lands using compensatory afforestation or CAMPA funds.
  • Recently, the union ministry of environment, forest and climate change asked these states to submit proposals for taking up such plantations.
  • This is in the light of reduced water flow from Himalayan glaciers and their impact on ecology.

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Plantation Agriculture – RISPC, Tea Act, etc.

Panama Disease


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Panama disease

Mains level: NA

The scientists of Indian Council of Agriculture Research or ICAR have found a cure for one of the most dreaded diseases on Banana.

Try this PYQ:

Q.Recently, our scientists have discovered a new and distinct species of banana plant which attains a height of about 11 metres and has orange-coloured fruit pulp. In which part of India has it been discovered?

(a) Andaman Islands

(b) Anamalai Forests

(c) Maikala Hills

(d) Tropical rain forests of northeast

Panama Disease

  • The fungal disease, called Fusarium Wilt, is popularly known as the ‘Panama Disease’ and afflicts banana plants.
  • For the first time, Indian scientists have brought out a biopesticide that can control the disease. This biopesticide has been made using another fungus.
  • For a long time, banana cultivators have been struggling with the Panama Disease.
  • This disease affects the Cavendish variety or the G9 Banana cultivar, which is the most widely grown banana in the world.

Spread in India

  • In India, more than 60 per cent of bananas are of the G9 variety.
  • They go by names like ‘Grand Naine’, ‘Robusta’, ‘Bhusaval’, ‘Basrai’ and ‘Shrimanth’.
  • Farmers in at least four Indian states — Bihar, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh — have been badly affected by this disease.
  • All these are areas where the Cavendish variety is grown.

Why is the disease so deadly?

  • Panama Disease is caused by a fungus with a long and complicated name called Fusarium oxysporum f. Sp cubense.
  • One of its strains which is called ‘Tropical Race 4’ or ‘TR4’ is creating the most havoc, threatening almost 80 per cent of the global banana production.
  • The disease is so deadly that it is sometimes referred to as ‘banana cancer’.
  • The fungus resides below ground and infects the plant through its roots. The infection then stops water and essential nutrients from being transported to the rest of the plant.
  • The leaves begin to wilt, and the stem of the plant starts turning dark brownish before the plant dies. If one plant gets it, then it is most likely that an entire plantation can be wiped out.

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