October 14, 2019 10:52 AM NPT
By: Arjun Oli
Paddy destroyed by Armyworm in Hiraminiya, Banke. Farmers from Hiraminiya show paddy plants destroyed by Armyworm. Photos: Arjun Oli/Republica
NEPALGUNJ, Oct 14: Paddy plants ready to be harvested by the farmers in Banke district has been destroyed by Armyworm. Farmers are worried as the pest is out of control.
The attack of the pest in Puraina and Puraini of Nepalgunj Sub Metropolitan City, Hiraminiya of Duduwa Rural Municipality, and Baijapur and Phattepur of Betahani and Raptisonari rural municipalities has drastically increased.
Farmers say that the pest that ‘attacks like an army’ has been hampering the crop by cutting the inflorescence of the paddy plant.
Farmers are struggling to protect the crop as the attack of the pest is not under control. Ratiram Kumhar of Kalabanjar village at Hiriminiya, Duduwa-6, which is considered the pocket area of the district for paddy, said that the crop planted in 2 bigha 12 kattha land has been destroyed by the pest. According to him, the pest outbreak became visible from Sunday.
“We informed local Agriculture Knowledge Center as soon as the pest started cutting the inflorescence of the paddy plant. But the staffers denied to come stating it was the time of Dashain holiday,” he said, “The staffers came and distributed pesticide only on Wednesday, but the pest did not die even after spraying the pesticide.”
Kumhar said that because of the armyworm outbreak, rice production will significantly decline in the district.
“Previously, 1.5 quintal of rice was produced from a kattha of land, but this year it is hard to produce even 50 kilograms of rice,” he said. As the outbreak intensifies, farmers are obliged to cut premature paddy plants. Maximum numbers of farmers from Hiraminiya are suffering because of the pest.
Pawan Jumar Maurya, a farmer from Chaudharypurba of Hiraminiya pointed the danger of severe food shortage in the villages as the crops get destroyed by the pest. “The farms have been destroyed by the armyworm. We are worried about how we are going to feed our children,” he said. Maurya stated that 90% of paddy planted in his one bigha land has been destroyed by the pest.
Farmers complain that concerned bodies of neither of the local, provincial, and federal governments have shown any interest to control the pest. They say though the Agriculture Knowledge Center (AKC) distributed an insecticide named ‘Imidacloprid’, it was not sufficient to control the pest. Mohan Ram Mishra, ward chair of Duduwa Rural Municipality-6, said farmers were in trouble because of the pest outbreak.
On the other hand, AKC Banke has stated that it does not have sufficient budget for bringing the outbreak into control. Om Prakash Sharma, agricultural promotion officer at the AKC, said that insecticide worth Rs 30,000 that was with the center was distributed. “We distributed the insecticide that we had with us. The center does not have sufficient budget,” Sharma said. “We have received some insecticide from the plant protection laboratory, and have distributed 50 ml insecticide per farmer, which is adequate for only 2 kattha land.”
Farmers should use the insecticide during night, he said, adding that the probability of pests to die would be very less if the quantity was less.
Farmers claim that although the outbreak was spotted in Banke six years ago, the government has never studied or researched the problem.