In Matara district:
Over 300,000 coconut trees affected by blight
Over 300,000 coconut trees in the Matara District are identified as
been affected by blight, Matara District Secretary W K K Athukorala told
the Daily News yesterday. She said that directives had been given to cut
down and destroy these trees within two weeks after they are earmarked
to prevent the spread of the disease.
She said that this decision was taken by the Coconut Cultivation
Board after a series of studies to control the disease. "The studies
upto now have revealed that the disease is incurable and therefore we
have no other option but to cut down the trees," she said. She also said
that the District Secretariat through the respective Divisional
Secretariats is paying compensation of Rs 2000 for each coconut tree to
be cut down. Meanwhile Welipitiya Divisional Secretary M Liyanarachchi
revealed that over 46,000 coconut trees have been identified to be
affected by the blight in the region.
She said that this disease was first discovered in 2007 and about 5
percent of the total coconut cultivation in the country was affected by
this disease. She said that coconut plantations in Matara, Galle and
Hambantota are reported to be affected by it.