BENAPOLE: Massive pest attack on Aman paddy fields has become a worrying concern for the famers in Jashare district this season.
The pest infestation has created doubt among the Aman growers whether they could attain the production target this time.
Many of them have lost the hope of even getting so much harvest as to recover the production cost.
According to the affected farmers, pests are destroying paddy saplings in big fields across vast areas in the district.
Lada beetle, Chungi beetle and Mazra beetle are among the species of pests that are taking biggest toll on the paddy fields.
The farmers are not getting any benefit even by spraying various types of pesticide.
They said pests have started attacking paddy fields at a time when sheaves will come within a week. Consequently, there has apparently been created a possibility of big crop loss.
A number of farmers said there is no solution but to seek help from the agriculture officials.
Agriculture officials, on the other hand, said they are monitoring the overall situation. There is nothing to worry about as such pests do not cause extensive damage to crops.
According to the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE), Jashore, Aman paddy has been cultivated on a record amount of land in six upazilas of the district this season due to adequate rainfall and favourable weather.
The target of Aman paddy production was set at 1, 39,000 tonnes this season against the target of 1,34,000 tonnes last year.
If the weather condition remains good for the whole season, the yield will also exceed the record- such is the hope of the DAE.
In the current season, Aman paddy has been cultivated on 25,630 hectares of land in Jashore Sadar upazila, 21,480 hectares in Sharsha upazila, 18,100 hectares in Jhikargachha upazila, 18,050 hectares in Chaugachha upazila, 6,630 hectares in Abhaynagar upazila, 18,240 hectares in Bagharpara upazila and 9,265 hectares of land in Keshabpur upazila.
Farmers in different areas of Jashore said this month, large aman paddy fields have been attacked by Lada beetle, Chungi beetle and Mazra beetle and other leaf-rolling insects.
Farmers are not being able to prevent the attack and diseases for these insects even by applying different kinds of pesticide.
In many areas, young paddy sheaves are turning black.
If such situation persists for a long time, the farmers are fearing that the target of Aman paddy in the district will be greatly affected.
Altaf Hossain, a farmer from Saraskathi village in Manirampur upazila, said "It is almost the end of Bhadra month. In a few days, rice will appear. But in no way I can protect the field from the attack of Mazra insects.”
“Even spraying pesticides of different companies I am not getting any benefit. Due to high rainfall this year, the paddy looked good in the field. But suddenly I was frustrated by the attack of Mazra insects and Chungi insects, "he added.
Islam Hossain, a farmer in the same area, said paddy saplings on his three bighas of land were on the way of being destroyed due to attack of Mazra insects and blight. They were doubtful whether there will come any paddy or not.
Badal Chandra Biswas, deputy director of the DAE, Jashore said there had not been such a massive pest attack on Aman fields in the region earlier as the one this year.
Farmers have nothing to worry about. These insects can be controlled through proper care and application of balanced fertilisers, he added.