DEOGARH:Pest attack on paddy crops has become a cause of concern for farmers of seven villages of Basaloi and Kaunsibahal gram panchayats in Barkote block of the district.
As per reports, paddy crop over 100 acres of land in Basaloi, Sunaposi and Asannali villages in Basaloi and Gaudasuguda, Nalabandha, Majhi Chakhundapal and Jari Chakhundapal in Kaunsibahal has been attacked by swarming caterpillars.The attack by swarming caterpillars began last week. The caterpillars have even attacked the grass on the bunds of paddy fields.
The farmers had broadcast paddy seeds in the month of June and now is the time for intercultural operation (Beusan). However, the farmers are unable to undertake intercultural operation due to the caterpillar menace. Even though Agriculture officials have advised to use pesticide to control the attack, the farmers are reluctant to do so as it is the time for intercultural operation. Moreover, as majority of the farmers use plough driven by bullocks for intercultural operation, they fear that the animals might be under threat if they devour the pesticide-laced paddy plants or grass on bunds of the fields. Dhaneswar Behera, a farmer of Basaloi, said the swarming caterpillars have damaged his paddy crop over two acres of land. Though it is time for intercultural operation, the farmers are unable to undertake the intercultural operation due to this menace, he added.
Another farmer Tankadhar Samal said they are in dilemma over the caterpillar attack and have lost hope of getting any yield this year.Contacted, Assistant Agriculture Officer, Deogarh Manoranjan Basa said the bullocks will be not be harmed if they are engaged in intercultural operation after one week of spraying pesticide on paddy plants. He said the caterpillars would be buried, resulting in their death during intercultural operation.