Fungal disease blast has turned into an epidemic in different upazilas of the district, hindering Boro production during the harvesting season.
The fungal attack has spread all over the upazilas, according to the farmers affected by the infection.Hundreds of farmers in the upazilas are worried of losing their crops as well as the production is expected to be below the target figure.The worst affected upazilas are Kalmakanda, Durgapur, Purbadhala and Barhatta in the district.
Bilash Chandra Paul, deputy director of Netrakona Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) said, “Farmers should not be worried of losing their harvest as the disease has not become an epidemic and the situation is under control.”
Only a few hectors of Boro land have been affected, he added.
“At first we could not understand that the plants were attacked by Blast infection, but suddenly we found that plants were being drying up and becoming whitish while the neck has turned black,” said Din Mohammad, a farmer of Kailati village in Kalmakanda upazila.
Pesticides were sprayed as per the advice of the DAE officials but did not get rid of the infection, lamented Abul Hussain, a farmer of Bishkakoni village in Purbadhala upazila.
However, no pesticide works if the disease spreads after the crop becomes ready for harvesting, officials said.
Heat in the daytime and cool weather at night mostly assists the disease to spread rapidly. Lack of necessary water is another cause of the epidemic, experts said.
The officials of Netrakona DAE said only 150 hectors of lands was reportedly attacked by blast disease in these areas.
At the beginning of the session, Netrakona district DAE authorities have taken a massive programme to bring around 1,82,301 hectors of land under Boro cultivation with an expectation of 6,07,770 tonnes of paddy while 1,64,585 hectares of land were cultivated last year.
Of the total 1,77,390 hectors of High Yielding Variety (HYV), 11377 hectors are hybrid while only 534 hectors are local variety.
The areas of the district mainly Khaliazuri, Mohangonj, Madan, Atpara, Kalmakanda, Kendua upazilas are better known for Boro cultivation where the cultivation target has already been exceeded the year.
However, last year’s production was hampered hugely due to early flood.