Kalahandi farmers now facing pest attack

Bhawanipatna: Having averted the deficit rainfall prospect due to last week`s low pressure-induced heavy downpour, farmers in Odisha`s Kalahandi district now facing caterpillar attack to paddy cultivation.

Incidence of swarming caterpillar pest was reported in the paddy fields of 10 blocks of Kalahandi district, according to an assessment of Agriculture department.

A total of 2095 hectors of paddy lands in the district are now infested by Swarming caterpillar, the reports said.

However citing a much higher non-official figure, Bhawanipatna, Madanpur-Rampur, Junagarh, Kesinga, Narla, Dharamgarh and Karlamunda blocks bear the brunt of pest infection.

"Mostly due to cloudy weather for a long period and flash flood, pest infection occured in paddy cultivation here in Kalahandi," a senior officer of the agriculture department said.

To combat the infection in two phases 1,000 litres of liquid pesticide (Nurocombi) and 9,500 KG of pest control dust (Chloropyriphos) had been supplied to the affected blocks by agriculture department.

"The small and marginal farmers could avail the pesticide at half rate", Deputy Director Agriculture Amereswar Mishra said.

The department has also made arrangement for further stocking of pesticides in the affected blocks, he said adding that field functionaries have been directed to assist farmers and in case of exigency taking up mass spraying in the infested areas.