Blast attacks Boro in Panchagarh, Thakurgaon

Blast disease has attacked paddy fields at Quarimill village in Panchagarh. Photo: Star

Farmers in Panchagarh and Thakurgaon are worried as several hundred acres of Boro paddy fields have been attacked by blast disease.

The antidotes prescribed by agriculture officials in Boda and Debiganj upazilas of Panchagarh are ineffective, farmers said. 

The most affected villages are Quarimill, Dhonipara and Jugipara under Boda upazila.

Many farmers alleged that the cause of the attack is low quality seeds supplied by Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation (BADC) of Panchagarh, who sold seeds without issuing receipts. 

Sub-assistant agriculture officer in the union said the disease might have been caused by damp weather during cultivation period, adding that sunlight is essential during the grain forming stage for good Boro production.   

A farmer sees his blast affected crop at Begunbari Natupara village in Thakurgaon. Photo: Collected

The increasing proportion of nitrogen in the soil and sub-standard seeds could also be reasons for the attack, he added.

Deputy Director (DD) of Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) in Panchagarh Md Shamsul Haque said 30,650 hectares of land have been brought under Boro cultivation against the target of 30,690 hectares, with production target of 1,37,938 tonnes this season.

During a visit to some villages on April 23, this correspondent saw that over two hundred acres of land have already been affected and the sheaves are drying up.

Md Islam, 40, a share-cropper of Quarimil village in Boda upazila, said, “I have cultivated Boro on six bighas of land with seeds purchased from BADC. The disease attacked my Boro field about a week ago due to low quality seeds, and it spread through the cultivation area. The sheaves turned whitish and dried rapidly soon after the attack.”

Islam said, “BADC's sales centre did not give any receipt when I asked for it.”

He has submitted petitions to the deputy commissioner's office, office of the DD DAE, and the UNO's office, seeking compensation for the lost crop, he said.

Anikul Barman, 55, of Jugipara village said he cultivated Boro on eight bighas of land, which was attacked by the disease. “Insecticide is not working even after frequent spraying,” he added.

Assistant Director of the seed sale centre of Panchagarh BADC Abdul Hai told this correspondent that though blast is a seed-transmitted disease, the attacks happened due to adverse weather this season.

“Every buyer who purchases seeds from the centre is given a receipt. The allegation that we are not giving receipts is not true,” he added.

The DD of DAE said though blast disease can attack Boro fields through seeds, cloudy weather with frequent rain may have caused the attack this season.

The situation is under control now as the farmers are taking preventive measures as per direction of agro officials, the DD said.

Blast disease has also attacked paddy fields and damaged crops in Thakurgaon and is spreading rapidly.

Ansar Ali, 53, of Begunbari village said he cultivated Boro on three bighas of land. The disease attacked the field six days ago and badly damaged the crop, adding that spraying insecticide did not give any result.

Besides, bacterial leaf blight disease attacked fields in Ranishankoil upazila, said Upazila Agriculture Officer Mazedul Islam.

Thakurgaon Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) Deputy Director Maududul Islam said, “The situation is under control. We are distributing leaflets among the farmers of the district about the course of action to resist the disease.”    

He said about 59,980 hectares of land have been brought under Boro cultivation against the target of 59,978, with production target of 2,41,211 tonnes in the current cultivation season.


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