Potato growers in two northern districts -- Thakurgaon and Panchagarh -- are struggling a lot to save their potato plants and worried about the yield of the winter vegetable this season as the ongoing adverse weather have caused the outbreak of late blight disease in many areas.
Late blight, locally known as patamora rog, is a fungal disease, Deputy Director at Thakurgaon Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) said, adding that if immediate steps are not taken, leaves of the affected plants turn blackish and die shortly after.
The ongoing prolonged cold and dense fog in addition with fluctuation of temperature during day and night caused the outbreak of late blight in some potato fields, he said.
“To check the outbreak of the disease, we are suggesting the farmers to spray two grams of Mencozeb or Metalexyl medicine mixed with one litre of water in their affected potato fields once a week,” he said.
He said the situation is still under control and it would improve once the weather condition improves.
During a visit to Yakubpur, Farabari, Chameshwari, Baragaon and Bhulli Kumerpur villages in Thakurgaon Sadar upazila, and Moidandighi, Sipaipara and Sakoa villages in Panchagarh’s Boda upazila this correspondent saw many potato fields attacked with the fungal disease and affected farmers were spraying medicines to save their potato plants.
A number of farmers said frequent use of medicine adds more money to their production cost.
“I cultivated potato on five bigha of land spending Tk 1.5 lakh this season. But nearly one-fourth of the plants already died due to the fungal attack. As per the experts’ advice I am now spraying medicine in my potato field in a bid to save the remaining crop,” farmer Nur Jamal of Yakubpur village said.
Jamal said he had spent Tk 1.3 lakh in potato cultivation and has expressed fear that the production may drop this season.
Another grower Mohammad Akbar of the same village echoed the same.
According to DAE officials, 25,030 hectares of land has been brought under potato cultivation against the target of 23,528 hectares in Thakurgaon this season while 9,920 hectares has been cultivated against the target of 8,531 hectares in Panchagarh.