‘Chakada’ returns to haunt Odisha farmers

Bhubaneswar/Sambalpur: After crops in over 1.10 lakh acres of farmland across the state were affected due to brown plant hoppers last year, farmers expected that the Odisha government would come up with plans to prevent such pest attack. However, it seems that the government has learnt nothing from the ‘Chakada (brown plant hopper)’ menace that had allegedly forced several farmers to commit suicide due to crop loss.

A ground zero report of OTV from Kuchinda region of Sambalpur found several acres of paddy fields affected by brown plant hoppers. Surprisingly, farmers here have once again raised questions over the quality of pesticides being made available to them.

“A few days earlier we were expecting a huge harvest, however due to rain and now chakada pest attack has broken our backbone,” lamented Sukanta Patel, a local farmer.

However, deputy director of Agriculture department, Sambalpur, Khagendra Jena said that the required pesticides are being made available to farmers and the situation is under control now.

On the other hand, after OTV reported pest attack in Kudasingha village in Bolangir district, the concerned agriculture officer visited the region to take stock of the situation and later admitted that there is a shortage of subsidised government-supply pesticides in the district due to which farmers are buying it from the open market which is not effective.

“Pesticides will reach today. We couldn’t supply the pesticides as there were no supplies,” said Pramod Kumar Badapanda, assistant agriculture officer, Bolangir.

Moreover, secretary of Agriculture department, Saurabh Garg said “The pest attack is presently isolated and of low intensity. All (agriculture officers) have been directed to remain alert and in case of any problem, we will inform the farmers.”

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