Fungal and pest attacks worry farmers in Krishna

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Grim battle: A paddy farmer spraying pesticide to ward off pest attack after recent rain near Gudivada in Krishna district. —
Grim battle: A paddy farmer spraying pesticide to ward off pest attack after recent rain near Gudivada in Krishna district. —

G. Ravikiran

Being a common phenomenon, it is controllable, say agriculture officials

Farmers fear drop in yield

Agriculture Joint Director describes the overall situation as satisfactory

MUDINEPALLI (Krishna Dist): The paddy-rich Krishna delta wears a green look with a certainly outward luxuriant growth, but farmers are apprehensive of getting meagre yields at the end of kharif season in view of the fungal and pest attacks that followed the recent rains and cloudy weather.

Agriculture officials, however, allay the fears of farmers, saying these fungal and pest attacks are common in times of unfavourable weather conditions and they are easily controllable.

Workers with sprayers slung on their shoulders can be seen wading through the waving greenery all around. The sprayings have become a must after the recent heavy rains caused stagnation of water for longer durations in the farm fields and, thereby, increased moisture in the air.

As it has turned out to be a problem of plenty, farmers have begun to rely heavily on luck while anticipating favourable weather conditions even as they use fungicides and pesticides to deal with the problem. While paddy plants in Kankipadu and Gudivada areas turned partly reddish due to zinc deficiency, sheath blight disease, known in Telugu as ‘Poda Tegulu’, surfaced in some fields in Mudinepalli area because of water stagnation. “Last year, I got only 20 bags of yield due to pest problem. This year, it is going to be another loss because of unwelcome weather. The cost of cultivation has also gone up,” says U. Bikshalu, a farmer at Velpuru near Kankipadu. Having raised paddy in five acres, he is now forced to use more fertilisers and pesticides to save the crop.

Relying on pesticides

Boppana Jagadeesh, a young farmer at Pedapalaparru near Mudinepalli, is a worried man after the rains. The standing water has caused immense damage to some fields, including his three acres.

“We have undertaken clearing of field channels and drains to ensure free flow of water. The problem cropped up exactly when the crop is in a crucial stage of growth,” he explains. Joint Director of Agriculture B. Vaman Goud says that deficiency of micro-nutrients might be the reason for the crop turning reddish in some areas and necessary measures will be taken to create awareness among farmers.

He describes the overall situation as satisfactory, with the district receiving 658.9 mm of rainfall as against the normal rainfall of 686 mm till now this year.

By this time last year, the rainfall recorded was only 552.4 mm. Consequently, paddy is being cultivated in 2.42 lakh hectares as against normal 2.43 lakh hectares in the district, which is 99.4 p.c. of total area.



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