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By: S Lodha, R Mawar and BS Rathore
Like other agro climatic zones of India, crops in arid region also suffer enormously due to vagaries of plant diseases. Certain agro-climatic conditions favor occurrence and development of these diseases, which often takes a serous form resulting in heavy crop losses. Instances are there when growers have abandoned cultivation of cumin, a cash crop, which suffered heavily due to wilt and shifted to less remunerative or more irrigation requiring crops. Even several folk songs depict the plight of cumin growers. Similarly, concurrent soil moisture and heat stress favor survival and multiplication of soil-borne plant pathogens that causes root rots in many legumes, oilseeds and trees. As arid lands are brought under irrigation, several newer or hitherto unimportant diseases have also became serious. With the burgeoning population pressure, arid region is now confronted with producing more grain and fodder per unit of land.
Besides cultivation of drought hardy varieties of crops under improved agronomic practices, management of plant diseases is yet another area, which can accept this challenge to maximize productivity of arid lands. In the present compendium, contributions were invited from experienced research workers working in specialized Institutes. An effort has been made to provide information on the occurrence of major diseases on principal cereals, legumes, oilseeds, spices, horticultural crops, trees, medicinal plants, etc, and on factors influencing their development and practical remedial measures to reduce crop losses.
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