Jajpur, September 26 (Odisha.in) Insect are destroying paddy crops in several areas of this coastal district of Jajpur adding more trouble for the farmers already battling to save their crops from the rounds of floods past months.
Paddy crop in hundreds hectares has been damaged following the insect attack, sources said. No help from the district administration has yet reached the affected farmers although the first reports of swarming of their fields by the insects came in more than four weeks ago.
The farmers who are not able to use the costly pesticides to fight the menace of insects, locally known as “Leda poka”, now hope to reap less than one- sixth of their usual harvest, says Bijay Kumar Khandei, the secretary of Korei Farmers’ club.
The insects, whose agronomical name is ‘Swarming Caterpillar’ usually comes in masses by floating in the flood water. They are black in colour and measure less than one inch in length.
Sources said, a handful of rich farmers in some areas tried to prevent the onslaught by spraying costly insecticides on their fields, but 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 paddy crops, Khandei, added.
“Caterpillars usually come in masses by floating in the flood water. They settle down on the inner surface of the young leaves, usually two insects sharing a single leaf. 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 leave, the leaves are dead and their colours turned pale white”, said Ashok Kumar Satapathy, an Agro scientist.
Jajpur District Agriculture Officer Sudarshan Acharya said time of destruction of paddy crop by the insects attack was over. “We have visited some of the insect-affected paddy fields of the district recently.
Our district is not so affected as the neighbouring Kendrapara and Jagatsinghpur districts. We have been counseling to the farmers not to use pesticides to fight against the insects as the pesticides have a bad impact on human as well as environment.”
However, Paddy procurement in our district would be affected by the insects attack and floods this year, he added.