Organic pest control a hit with Jessore farmers
In the villages of Bagda and Majidpur in Jessore's Keshobpur upazila these days, the key word is 'organic'. With chemical pesticides on the nose, over 200 farmers have been using sex pheromone traps to protect their crops from insect attack, with admirable success.
Each trap consists of a capsule containing the female sex hormone of insects, suspended in a plastic bottle with one inch of soapy water. Two holes are added to the middle of the container to allow insects to enter and become trapped. Set on two bamboo sticks in crop fields, the traps prevent pests from mating and thus keep their numbers in check.
According to Keshobpur agriculture officials, all kinds of vegetables including brinjals and pumpkins as well as legumes and kidney beans, are being grown organically in several villages of Majidpur union. As well as being a more natural production method, the strategy saves money for farmers. The cost of expensive chemical pesticides is eliminated.
“I have been growing organic pumpkins for the last four years,” says Mashiur Gazi, a farmer from Bagda. He's not alone. Organic pumpkin gardens already cover 170 bighas of land in the upazila, with the number of farmers adopting organic methods increasing every day.
At a recent Farmer's Field Day event hosted by the upazila's agriculture extension department office at the council headquarters recently, officials further promoted organic farming. With sex pheromone traps, they advised, expenditure of around Tk 12,000 can effectively protect a pumpkin crop worth up to Tk 45,000 from insect damage.
“The event was aimed at raising awareness about organic technology,” says Mahadev Chandra Sana from the department. “We hope to see the expansion of pumpkin production in particular by encouraging farmers' interest in both organic methodologies and in high-yielding pumpkin varieties.” Pumpkin is usually harvested within ninety days of being planted, he adds.