Potato Cyst Nematode (Globodera rostochiensis) is the most important parasite of potato throughout the world. In Pakistan, the pathogen was first reported in 1980 from Abottabad and in 1985 its impact was observed and population reached as high as 2000 cysts/100 g of soil. The yield was reduced almost to one-half in that area due to the nematode infestation. The nematode is host-specific and can survive in the absence of the host for as long as 28 years. The nematode infestation can be reduced with the use of resistant cultivars and nematicides. Potato growers of the Kalam area have very small land holdings, therefore they can hardly afford the use of nematicides.
Technology Development, Demonstration and Recommendation
Considering the difficulty of farmers in using nematicides, the NARC scientists introduced the use of winter hardy vegetables and non-host crops, like turnips, pea, cauliflower and cabbage, as summer crops. These crops are cultivated in that area in the month of April and in about three months time they are ready for harvest after which the potato crop is sown. The cauliflower and cabbage nursery should be obtained from other areas and can be planted in the month of April. This practice provides the farmer with additional income by having two crops and the delayed potato adversely crop affects life cycle of the nematode by low multiplication rate; hence the nematode population decreases with every cycle of the crop. The subsequent surveys conducted in that area to monitor the nematode population reveals that the population has decreased to about 150 cyst/ 100 g of soil.
The basic principal of this technology is the addition of non-host crops like peas, turnip, cauliflower and cabbage the in farming system. The technology is very popular among farmers of the Kalam area. Because has contributed towards enhancing their income well as reduced the incidence of potato cyst nematode infestation in potato crop.
Khan, B. A., Munir, A., Haque, M. I. and Aslam, M. (1986). Occurrence and population densities of potato cyst nematodes in Northern areas of Pakistan. Pak. J. Nematology, 4: 41-42.
Munir, A., Soomro, M. H. and Aslam, M. (1992) Potato cyst nematode in Pakistan: In ‘Status of Plant Pathology in Pakistan. (Eds A. Ghaffar and S. Shahzad) Proceedings of the National Symposium held at University of Karachi. pp 79 – 82.