Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

The high hopes of farmers for a good yield from jute cultivation this year has taken a severe beating in Magura Panchayat of Tangi area in Cuttack due to an unknown pest attack.

According to reports, a large number of farmers in the area who directly and indirectly depend on the golden fibre for their livelihood are now staring at an uncertain future due to possible crop loss in the wake of pest attack. 

"Due to scarcity of rain, we faced a lot of problems in commencing farming works but somehow managed to sow the crops. However, at the time of harvest, caterpillar-like insects have invaded our croplands in huge armies,” said a farmer.

Most of them said that they have taken loans from different sources to carry out the cultivation and were hopeful of a good harvest this year. 

“However, the development will put a huge financial burden on us in case of crop loss. Now we are anxious on how to repay our loans if we don't get good yield. It seems that the situation will become more difficult for us even to make our ends meet,” he said.

As per sources, the local Block Agriculture Officer recently visited the jute cultivated lands to take stock of the situation and assured that farmers would not suffer a huge financial burden as the pest attack might not bear much damage to the crops. 

“The red headed caterpillars have affected the crops due to erratic rainfall this year. It is the time of harvest and we don’t think the pests will affect the crop,” said an official.

“The block administration will provide pesticide to the farmers under Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT). They can also buy pesticides at 50 per cent subsidy from the dealers and spray in their field to get rid of the pests,” said the official.

(Edited by Suryakant Jena)