Aman farmers in different areas of Patuakhali are worried as the plants are drying due to attack of pests like stem borer, leaf folder and grasshopper.
“I cultivated Aman on two and a half acres of land but the plants are turning brown due to recent attack by majra poka [stem borer],” said Md Idris Ali, a farmer of Jalisha village under Dumki upazila.
Abul Hawlader, another farmer of the same village, said, “After leaf folder pest attacked my field I informed the agriculture office about the matter but no official visited my field in a week.”
Mehar Malika, Dumki upazila agriculture officer, said pest attack in this season is a normal matter and there is no reason to worry.
“Our field level officers are working with local farmers to control the pests,” she said adding that 6,552 hectares of land has been brought under Aman cultivation in Dumki upazila this year.
Chandu Chowkider, a farmer of Bhoripasha village under Baufal upazila, said he cultivated Aman on two acres of land but stem borer and leaf folder pests attacked his field.
“We are trying to control the pests in different ways including use of insecticide and perching method,” he said.
Md Awal Hossain, a sub assistant agriculture officer of Patuakhali Sadar upazila, said, pest attack isn’t that alarming and we are suggesting farmers to use environment-friendly perching method first and then apply insecticide.
In perching method, farmers put up tree branches on their field to facilitate sitting of birds that eat harmful insects.
Abu Hanif, a farmer of Amkhola village under Galachipa upazila, said as per suggestion of an agriculture officer he is using perching method in his land and getting good result.
“We are motivating farmers to use perching method. They are suggested to set at least 20 branches per acre of land,” said Md Rafiqul Islam, training officer of the Department of Agriculture Extension in Patuakhali office.
“Pest attack affected around 800 hectares of Aman field in the district. Of it, 592 hectares have been attacked with stem borer, 200 hectares with leaf folding pest and 16 hectares with grasshoppers,” he said.
But local farmers claimed the area of affected field would be much more.
“A total of 2.02 lakh hectares of land have been brought under Aman cultivation in the district this year and we set a target to produce 3.94 lakh tonnes of rice,” Rafiqul Islam said.