Unknown disease ruins paddy crop, dashes farmers’ hope in Odisha

They reported that the tip of their paddy crops first turned pale after which the entire plant got damaged.

Published: 26th April 2023 11:13 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th April 2023 11:13 AM   |  A+A-

paddy crop damaged

Standing paddy crop damaged at a farmland in Bargarh district | Express

By Express News Service

BARGARH: Farmers of Bargarh district are in dire straits after an unidentified plant disease has affected their standing paddy crops leaving them damaged and pale. The unknown disease was first noticed by farmers of the Attabira, Bhatli and Bheden blocks during mid-April. They reported that the tip of their paddy crops first turned pale after which the entire plant got damaged.

Later farmers of other blocks also complained of their paddy showing similar symptoms. While some reported the matter to the district agriculture office, others sent tweets to the principal secretary of the Agriculture Department, Government of Odisha, Arabinda K Padhee.

“We will incur huge losses as standing paddy grown on large tracts of land are now damaged,” alleged farmer leader Ramesh Mahapatra. The crops have symptoms of two to three diseases but farmers are unable to identify the exact cause. The Agriculture Department officials have collected samples. Large tracts of paddy cultivation have been affected by the disease, farmers said.

“While the officials have assessed the damage of crops on over 300-400 hectare land, in reality, around 2,000-3,000 hectare has been affected,” Mahapatra further informed.

Chief district agriculture officer (CDAO), Bargarh, Ashok Kumar Amat said a team from Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) will visit all blocks to further assess the situation. The region witnessed inclement weather conditions for the last few months, said Amat, adding, the district witnessed sweltering heat and incessant rainfall in succession while some regions faced hailstorms. “While the crops developed Rice Blast and Bacterial Leaf Blight diseases,  excessive application of urea on the affected plants further led to Neck Blast Disease,” Amat stated.

Official sources informed that while the farmers applied excess urea to their crops, a decrease in the application of potash by 50 per cent has left the crops more susceptible to pest attack. Amat informed that the crops on which the disease is in its initial stage can be revived by the use of pesticides. “But those that have entirely been affected by the disease, are almost destroyed. The KVK scientists have recommended the application of necessary pesticides for them. We will carry out a loss assessment soon,” he added.


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