More than 6,500 betel nut trees on the island of Saipan have been protected from the dreaded bud rot disease, according to the Northern Marianas College-Cooperative Research Education and Extension Service.
The Service's agricultural consultant Isidoro Cabrera told the Saipan Tribune newspaper that a fungicide injected into the trees kills the disease on contact and helps boost the plant's natural defenses against further infection.
He says the chemical also serves as a preventive control measure to keep the plants healthy all year long.
He added that the threat posed by bud rot has been a concern to many in the Saipan farming community .
Some betel nut growers who have not actively taken part in the fight against the disease are being encouraged to join the project.