Sinapali: As if erratic monsoon situation was not enough, infestation of a crop-guzzling insect Chakada (brown plant hopper) is threatening to wipe out cultivation and pile more worries on farmers of Sinapali area in Nuapada district.
Hectares of paddy crop have been affected in Gobindapur, Malpada, Hirapur and Gorla grampanchyats undre Sinapali block. Even the pests are not sparing other crops like maize, vegetables, pulses and even oilseeds.
A report of Orissa POST from Sinapali block of Nuapada found several acres of paddy fields affected by brown plant hoppers. However, farmers here have once again raised questions over the quality of pesticides being made available to them.
The farmers alleged that though they have been applying pesticides distributed by agricultural department, it has been found ineffective against the crop eating insects.
Farmers said that the brown plant hopper is the most damaging insect in paddy cultivation. It is so damaging that sometimes the whole rice field is lost.
The brown plant hopper normally attacks the base of the plant. First it sucks sap from the plants. The plant becomes dry and may even die. The worst attack is in the booting stage or just before the rice ripens. The plants look burnt. The field looks like it has been burned by lightning.
Besides, it also reproduces in large numbers and its eggs develop fast into grubs which make the crops even more susceptible.
“A few days earlier we were expecting a huge harvest, however due to rain and now chakada pest attack has broken our backbone,” lamented Abhiram Bakul, a local farmer.
The farmers said that we have invested in paddy cultivation by borrowing from private money lenders and taking loans from banks, but the all our hope for a good harvest have vanished in to thinner due to Chhakada menace.
Block Agriculture Officer Sanjaya Kumar Patro said the department is aware of the problem. We are making frequent field visits. “Pesticides have been distributed to farmers at subsidized prices,” added Sanjaya.
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