Odisha farmers worry as pests feast on paddy plants

Continuous rains for over a month in different parts of Koraput district have contributed to pest menace in paddy fields that remain  water-logged.
For representational purposes
For representational purposes

JEYPORE:  Continuous rains for over a month in different parts of Koraput district have contributed to pest menace in paddy fields that remain water-logged. This has forced the worried farmers to spend a lot on fertilisers to save their crops.

It is believed, waterlogging is one of the major factors that breeds seasonal pests. Add to it, the local climatic condition which is favourable for growth of pests.  Though paddy fields in Kotpad, Kundra, Borrigumma and Jeypore are seen standing in stagnant water since it rained for consecutive weeks, some pockets of Nuagaon, Chandili, Bhujanguda , Dangarpaunsi , Bedapaunci, Kumuli, Kamata, B. Singpur. Padagada, Aunli, Dahmanahandi, Sasahandi, Chandili, Sadaranga, Pataraput, Jagakenadi, Ghatbagar are still inundated in water affecting about 800 hectares of paddy lands. 

This kharif, about 42,000 hectares of paddy crops have been taken up for cultivation by farmers and 90 per cent cultivation process completed. Farmers said patches of farmland have been witnessing hoppers and worms eating up paddy leaves. Even, in some areas, the pests have not left roots of the plants. This has forced farmers to fetch fertilizer to curb the menace. A litre of pesticide costs between Rs 900 and Rs 1200 and one litre of pesticide covers only one acre of farmland, sources said. 

 “We are buying pesticides on our own as the government agencies are yet to rise to the occasion,” rued another farmer of Nauagaon village Narendra Pradhan. He demanded an immediate supply of subsidised pesticides to the affected farmers. 

Chief district agriculture officer of Koraput BN Behera said the situation is not alarming. “Our field staff are watching the plant progress in ground level. If we find pest attacks in large scale, the department is ready to provide 50 per cent subsidy on pesticides.” Soon a massive awareness campaign will be initiated through field staff to provide information to farmers on how to curb the pests and disease management, he added. 

Menace on fields

Paddy fields in Kotpad, Kundra, Borrigumma and Jeypore affected
Waterlogging and climate responsible for pests
About 800 hectares of paddy lands amid water 
This kharif, about 42,000 ha cultivated with paddy.
90 per cent cultivation process completed
One litre pesticide costs between `900 and `1200
Farmers await subsidy on fertiliser
Agri officer says the situation is not alarming 

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