farmers of five southwestern districts not to cultivate wheat advised the Department of Agricultural Extension has, as these districts saw the breakout of ‘wheat blast’ disease last year.

According to DAE officials, the wheat blast was spotted in Kushtia, Meherpur, Chuadanga, Jhenidah and Jessore last year where many wheat farmers were adversely affected due to the alien disease.

“Farmers are discouraged from cultivating wheat in seven districts of the country, including the five southwestern districts, to check any wheat blast outbreak further,” said DAE Deputy Director of Jessore office Emdad Hossain Sheikh.

He claimed that the DAE had already taken various programmes to make the farmers aware of the wheat blast disease.

He said: “There is no alternative to suspension of wheat cultivation to check it.”

“Even though wheat seeds do not carry the virus of the disease, it may remain in weeds of the arable land. The disease can break out next year as well. So, farmers are asked to stop wheat cultivation in these districts this year,” he said.

Caused by a fungus, the wheat blast is one of the most fearsome and intractable wheat diseases first discovered in Brazil in 1985, reports UNB.

According to official estimates, the blast disease last year affected 15,000 hectares of wheat fields in Jessore, Kushtia, Chuadanga, Meherpur, Jhenidah, Magura, Barisal, and Bhola causing up to 40{ad71656c61d5cd45d1e1aa04fecadb2e3dd82676fa3651253d22fcb40d1a4af5} of crop damage.