Rasulpur: Leaf blight disease affecting tomato crop when it is nearing harvest has left the farmers worrying about their crops here in Jajpur district, a report said. It is apprehended that the disease might result in reduced output and lead to heavy loss for the farming community in the area, farmers Sisir Rout, Prafulla Mallick, Tapan Mohanty, Lalu Rout, Abhiram Parida and Samit Rout alleged. Farmers are also afraid that all their hard work and money they have put into cultivation might go down the drain if the disease is not checked from spreading further.
According to farmers, they incur a minimum of Rs 5000 in purchasing seeds and in preparing saplings for tomato cultivation on an acre of land. Moreover, they have to spend Rs 25000-30,000 in buying seeds, Rs 30-35,000 in pesticides, Rs 30000-35,000 towards labour payment (from the start of the cultivation till the completion of the harvest), Rs 5000-10,000 in irrigation and Rs 10000-15,000 towards transportation of their harvested tomatoes to various markets. The total cost incurred in raising the crops hovers around Rs 1 lakh to Rs 1.5 lakh.
The farmers could reap 20-25 tonne of tomatoes per acre if fortune favours them but the reverse happens if the crops are affected by disease or any bad climatic condition. A farmer could earn profits if the per kg price of tomato remains at Rs 10 during the harvest period but loss if the price goes down.
Observers claimed that leaf blight disease in tomato cultivation happens due to fungal infection and advised to use pesticide with constraint. They also advised to conduct awareness programme to sensitise the farmers about the disease.
However, the block agriculture department is just a nameshake and has failed to be of any help to the farmers. The farmers are also equally not seeking the assistance of farm experts to contain the disease. They are buying pesticide from the market and applying them on their crops. As a result, farmers are spending more in their cultivation while wrong use of pesticide results in crop loss and reduced output.
When contacted, Lalit Mohan Mohanty, scientist at the Krishi Vigyan Kendra in Jajpur said that the disease has affected the crop as the farmers do not treat the seeds before using them for cultivation. He advised farmers to make treatment of seeds and contact the agriculture scientist before making use of pesticide on their crops.