Ganjam: The pest attack on maize crop is worrying farmers of this block in Ganjam district, a report said Monday.
Pests have devoured maize crop in Rambha, Burudi, Jharedi, Radhagovindpur, Dharmsaranpur, Jahami, Sipakunda, Sanaramachandrapur, Diadein and Madhurchuan where agriculture is the mainstay of all residents.
Farmers here raise vegetables and maize. They go for vegetable farming in the first part of the year and maize in the latter part.
The earnings they get from the cultivation help them in running their households and in meeting the cost of their children’s education. However, lack of financial assistance for crop loss due to natural calamities or pest attack has disappointed them.
Many farmers here are giving up farming and are going to other states in search of jobs, farmer Babula Nahak of Dharmasaranpur said.
He said while they were struggling to raise crops the recent pest attack on maize has dealt a heavy blow. Maize plants have wilted due to the pest attack and have turned yellowish pale.
This has reduced yields and farmers are unable to recoup the costs they had incurred for paying wages to labourers and for buying seeds and fertilizers, said farmer Prakash Nahak of Jahami.
This could have been avoided had there been a cold storage in the area. He fears that this might lead to distress sale to middlemen. Farmers who fear that their crops might get destroyed in the absence of cold storage facilities will have to sell it to middlemen at throwaway prices.
He said that maize sells at Rs 3 to Rs 4 per piece, dressed maize at Rs 20 a kg and a packet of maize at Rs 550.
The establishment of some industrial firms in the area has resulted in air and water contamination and this is affecting cultivation, he said.
The farmers have demanded that the government should establish a cold storage in the area.