Kendrapada, September 2 (Odisha.in) Insects have ruined paddy crops of thousands of farmers in both Kendrapada and Jagatsinghpur districts.
“Help from the administration, however, is yet to reach the villagers, more than three weeks after the first swarm of insects arrived here.
The insects are black in colour and measuring less than an inch in length. Most of the crops have been destroyed in the area.
The farmers who could afford the costly fight against the pests now hope to reap less than one- eight of their usual harvest, Gayadhar Dhal the secretary of Kendrapada district Krusaka Sabha told Odisha.in.
However, the district agricultural office at Kendrapada said that only 487 hectors of paddy fields in the district have been affected with insect.
Similarly about 2000 hectors of paddy saplings in Jagatasinghpur districts have been affected due to insect attack, alleged Dhal.
However, the district agricultural officer of Kendrapada said that only 487 hectors of paddy fields in the district have been affected with insect.
“After arriving the insects settled on the inner surface of the young leaves usually two insects sharing a single leaf.
A light gust of wind dislodged them from that position but, before that, they did the damage. Each insect lay at least 50 eggs before being shaken off the leaf.
The eggs hatched within a week and the new-born insects stayed back, drawing sustenance from the young, green leaves.
When they left, the leaves were dead and their colour were pale white, said the officials. Field after field in places west of Garadapur, Kansarbadadandua, Baradanga, Batighar, Jamboo, Kharnasi, Bijaynagar, Chadeiguan, Narendrapur, and Baulakani- turned white from their usual leafy green.
The richer farmers tried to prevent the onslaught by spraying insecticides on the plants, but this only helped in widening the rich poor gulf. The pests, fleeing from the insecticides, merely took up position in the neighbouring fields, the owners of which could not afford to buy the costly chemicals.
The smaller farmers, therefore, lost all their saplings.. One of them is Rakesh Samal , a resident of Patakura . He has five acres of land and invested Rs 5,000 this year to paddy saplings.
Last year, the land yielded sufficient profit for him.. This year, he will not get more crops from the land.
The condition of bigger farmers, like Gatikrushna Rout of the same village, is only slightly better. His family owns 8 acres of land. Last year, each acre gave him 80 quintals of paddy.
This year, after spending several hundred rupees on insecticides, he hopes to get, on an average, only 40 quintals from each acre, said Rout.
Subash Chandra Mishra the district agriculture officer said that thei have set up twelve mobile groups of the agricultural officials to provide medicines to the farmers to save their paddy saplings from the insects.
A senior official from state’s agricultural department visited some of the insect-affected paddy fields on Saturday. We have been providing freely pesticides to the farmers, he said.