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    Disease attacks rice crop in Nangarhar

    JALALABAD (PAN): A new disease has hit rice crops in the Hesarak district of eastern Nangarhar province, Officials and farmers complained.

    The affected plants fade before being destroyed, Dr Muhammad Naeem, head of the local development council, told Pajhwok Afghan News.

    He said the disease had attacked the rice crop over 250 acres of land in Kunjakhel, Chartoot, Parzina and Hussainzai villages of the district.

    "Plants die after becoming pale," he said, adding: "Locals taunt me for encouraging them to stop poppy cultivation to please the government. And now I cannot get them government assistance."

    Abdul Khaliq, the Hesarak district chief, confirmed the crop malady had inflicted losses on farmers. "The Department of Agriculture has not provided any assistance to the district."

    Grower Abdul Hadi from the Kunja Khel village wondered what had caused the problem. The rice fields had received enough water, he said.

    Director of Agriculture Muhammad Hussain Sapi said they had seen the disease for the first time in the district. They could not visit the area because of insecurity, according to the official, saying the plant sample would be sent to laboratories in Jalalabad.