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Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Farmers of some blocks in Bhadrak district cannot help thinking about suffering a possible massive loss in livelihood this season in the wake of a dangerous pest attack on their paddy farmlands. 

The prevalence of ‘Chakada’ worms, also known as Brown Plant Hoppers have assumed alarming proportions in acres of land in Banta and Balasore blocks of the district.

As per reports, the impact of the Chakada has been mostly noticed in Berhampur, Banitia, Olanga, Randia and Rahancha and several other gram panchayats in the region. 

The pests have not only ruined roots of the plants with just few weeks before the harvest of the crops but most of the yield have dried up and become yellowish in colour indicating loss of quality.

The local farmers have alleged that they have been spraying all the available pest-killers on their paddy fields regularly to protect the crops, but it has failed to yield results.

Notably, most families in the region depend on farming as their main source of livelihood. Due to good rain this monsoon, the farming community had hoped for good profits, however, their aspirations have been crushed by the alarming rate of the spread in the pest infection.

After receiving complaints, the scientists of Ranitala Agcriculture Research Centre visited the area and offered solutions to the farmers on curbing the disease in the plants.

However, according to the farmers, the advices of the experts have little worked so far.

“We were hopeful to get a bumper crop and good income this year. However our livelihood is at stake because of the pest attack. Now, it will be even difficult for us to make our ends meet,” rued a farmer.

Another farmer openly requested assistance from the government to tide over the crisis. 

“We have borrowed a considerable sum of money from the lenders hoping that with a handsome earning, we will be able to repay the loans. But it seems that there is no other way than to stare at the loss," he said.

(Edited by Suryakant Jena)

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