BANEPA, Aug 8: Farmers in Kavre district have been spraying pesticide haphazardly on their crop without even identifying the pest.
“Earlier, we never used pesticide on maize. However, this year the crop has been damaged due to a pest that was never found before. If it had been further delayed, the maize plants would have been damaged,” said Kedar Prashad Sapkota, chairman of Atmanirbhar Sahakari Sanstha at Panchkhal.
The pest was seen in the plants in the third week of June. Even the Agriculture Knowledge Center could not identify the pest. “We thought the pest came up due to drought. However, when we went to the laboratory of Hariahar Bhawan in Kathmandu, lab technicians there gave us a bottle of pesticide,” said Sapkota.
The lab gave them Deltamethrin of Synthetic Pyrethorid type. Sapkota said: “Spraying of two other pesticides along with this pesticide for three times has controlled the pest.”
“I thought only my farm was infested with the pest. But this has been found in other farms as well. So, all of us have sprayed these pesticides. Now, the pest has been controlled,” he said. “I have also heard about crop-eating insect Fall Armyworm,” said Sapkota.
Sapkota claimed that the farmers were compelled to spray pesticide to protect their crop. They have sprayed the mix of Cypermethrin of Synthetic Pyrethroids and Chlorphyrifes of Organophosphate group and Emameketin Benzoat in the maize plants.
“The pest was first seen in some parts of Panchkhal Municipality-12. Now, the problem is also seen in wards 6 of Namobuddha Municipality,” said agro-technician Resham Dahal. The farmers have mostly planted the CP 808 species of maize among the hybrid species. The effect is minimum in other hybrid species. The pest has specially affected the CP 808. “The local species haven’t been affected much,” Dahal said.
The municipality has also sent a letter to the Agriculture Laboratory about the damage of the crop due to the pest. “In the field, we saw the larva of Fall Armyworm. For controlling this, we have gathered samples of the pest,” said Samikchya Gautam, crop protection officer. “The farmers who haven’t used pesticide for many years are feeling insecure. However, as they got to know that pesticide is sprayed in other places as well, they are not that worried now,” she said.
The farmers also suspect that the damage is done by Lepidoptera, which is a species of butterfly. Nevertheless, they said that the larva looked like Fall Armyworm.
However, Plant Quarantine and Pesticide Management Center has not identified the pest as Fall Armyworm. “We haven’t announced the name of the pest. So, it’s not good to spread rumors about the pest,” said Dr Dilli Ram Sharma, chief of the center. “If this is the Fall Armyworm species, we will immediately inform everyone and bring policies to control it.”