Farmers in Jessore, Bagerhat face crop failureTapos Kanti Das and Saifur Rahman Saif . Jessore
Several hundred farmers in different parts in Jessore and Bagerhat districts who cultivated hybrid rice seeds in the ongoing Boro season are going to face crop failure due to ‘neck blast’ disease in their paddy fields.
The affected fields mostly used by Madhumati-2 variety of seeds marketed by United Seed Store and Suroma–2 marketed by Syngenta while a few fields also used Tez brands of seeds, said farmers and department of agriculture extension officials. All those rice seeds were imported from China.
Agricultural experts and DAE officials suspect that ‘neck blast’, a fungal disease, affected the fields due to unfavourable hot weather and low quality seeds.
Paddy on around 106 hectares of land in different upazilas in Jessore and at least 10 hectares in Chitalmari in Bagerhat were affected by the disease, DAE officials said.
They said the disease can be identified when the sheaves coming out from the plants get rotten, discoloured and dried within a few days and, as a result, the sheaves do not contain any grain.
Affected farmers are worried that they would lose all the financial investments in cultivating their fields and demanded compensation for their loss.
‘I took 1.20 acares of land on lease in Buinkara area of Nawapara in Jessore and cultivated there using hybrid Madhumati-2 seed to get higher yield. But the disease on my rice field will give me nothing but some straws,’ farmer Abdul Goni told New Age.
He said that all his investment of Tk 22,000 for the cultivation would be wasted. He demanded compensation from either the government or from the seed distributors.
Jessore regional field officer of Seed Certification Agency, Paresh Kumar Roy, told New Age that they primarily identified the disease as neck blast and suspected that the hot weather that swept the area on April 3 and April 4 might be a reason of the outbreak of the disease.
‘The disease may remain in low quality seed in latent condition and if there is unfavourable weather, it may break out,’ Roy said, adding that they had informed it to BRRI and requested them to investigate the matter.
A four-member team of BRRI led by its chief scientific officer Md Abdul Jalil Mridha who visited the fields and collected samples on Wednesday described the disease as ‘neck blast’ which comes from seeds.
The concerned officials of United Seed Store and Syngenta could not be reached for their comments after several attempts on Wednesday and Thursday.
‘We are informed about the disease and have already formed a committee to investigate the matter,’ Nesar Uddin Ahmed, agriculture ministry chief seed technologist, told New Age.
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