Pest attacks are back to haunt farmers of Kalahandi district. Paddy crop in the irrigated pocket of Indravati project has reportedly been damaged by Brown Plant Hopper (BPH) pests and this comes at a time when the crops are in flowering stage.
Severely affected blocks are Kalampur, Junargarh and Jaipatna.
Unofficially, paddy crops over 15,000 acres has been damaged by BPH of which, 8,000 acres are in Kalampur block alone. And in Kalampur block, the worst-hit areas are Patrabasa, Pandigaon, Kalampur and Mandal gram panchayats.
The situation is similar in Nuagaon village under Madal gram panchayat. Here too, crops over thousands of acres have been destroyed by pests.
“The paddy leaves have gone dry due to pest attack. We are applying pesticides, but these are of no help. The State Government is yet to come to our help,” said Premlal Sahu, a marginal farmer.
Unlike Sahu, there are many poor farmers in the region who are unable to afford these pesticides. A small farmer,
Bibhuti Majhi of Gumabahal village under Kalampur panchayat said there is no hope for survival of the crops. “The Agriculture Department is not providing subsidy to us on pesticides,” he said, adding that he had already suffered crop damage in the last season for the same reason.
Sources in the district agriculture office said that there are not enough funds to provide subsidy on pesticides. “We can only advise the farmers on crop care measures,” an official said.
The Deputy Director of Agriculture, Amarendra Mishra, said according to preliminary assessment, about 4,000 hectares (ha) of paddy field in Indravati irrigated pockets have been damaged by BPH pests. “Field officers have been asked to conduct a survey of the damage and submit a report. We have diverted Rs 30 lakh from the funds meant for ‘Bringing Green Revolution to Eastern India’ under Rajiv Krishi Vikas Yojana to procure and supply pesticides on subsidy to the farmers,” he said.