Lohit and Lower Dibang Valley, the two major orange producing districts, are particularly affected by the phenomenon as many farmers had to abandon hundreds of hectares of orange orchards.

According to a survey conducted by the Arunachal Pradesh Horticulture Research and Development Mission (APHRDM) from October 26 to October 31, Wakro in Lohit district, known as the orange bowl of the state, and Roing and Korunu circles in Lower Dibang Valley district are worst affected.

APHRDM mission director Egam Basar, who studied the problem, said that there was an urgent need to arrest the problem, caused by a host of diseases, before it spread to other districts.

"This can prove to be disastrous for the citrus industry in the state," Basar predicted.

A farmer at Chidu village in the Wakro circle has lost 10,500 orange trees. Similar stories of losses were reported in the Koronu circle in Lower Dibang Valley district, where about 20,000 citrus trees were found bereft of fruits.

"The problem is also reported from East Siang and Papum Pare districts too," Basar said.

Though decline in citrus fruit decline is caused by several factors, the survey team zeroed in on three causes – nutrient deficiency (especially zinc deficiency), greening disease and viral infection (Tristeza and Yellow Corky Vein virus), responsible for the crisis.

"Greening disease is caused by gram negative bacteria which gets into orchards through infected planting materials and later transmitted to other plants through a fly called Citrus Psylla.

Measures to control the diseases include both controlling the bacteria as well as insect carrier, Basar says.

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