Environment-friendly “sex pheromone trap” for killing harmful insects is gaining popularity among farmers of transplanted aman in the region including its vast Barind tract, thanks to the awareness and motivational programme of the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE).
The environment-friendly method serves as alternative to toxic pesticides in the region comprising Rajshahi, Chapainawabganj, Naogaon and Natore districts.
The alternative method appears as a blessing against the backdrop of random use of toxic pesticides that threaten the ecological balance and public health, said agro-officials and farmers.
Wide-ranging cultivation of high yielding and hybrid varieties of different crops and vegetables, disproportionate use of chemical fertilizers and harmful pesticides for repeated crop harvesting is being blamed for the continuing soil nutrients decline.
In sex pheromone trap, a capsule containing female sex hormone of insects is hung in a plastic bottle with one inch of soap-water and two holes are created in the middle of the container for entrance of insects.
Set in the crop field with two bamboo sticks, the bottle attracts male insects that drown in the soap water. Thus, mating and spread of pests are checked.
“A trap is needed for every three decimals of vegetable field. Accordingly, 11 traps are enough for a bigha (33.06 acres) of land to check pest attack. Now a capsule sells for Taka 25 and it remains effective for three months,” said Monzur Mawla, Upazila Agriculture Officer in Paba of Rajshahi district.
During a recent visit to different villages in Tanore, Godagari, Durgapur, Puthiya and Charghat upazilas in Rajshahi, Lalpur, Boraigram and Shingra Upazilas of Natore, this reporter found that many farmers have set the traps at their aman fields.
“Using sex pheromone traps in my one bigha of tomato field, I have got good result in pest control. The yield is satisfactory too. People show interest to buy the pesticide-free vegetable even for a bit higher price,” said Abul Kalam Azad, 45, of Darusha village in Paba upazila.
Abdur Rahim, owner of Shapla Biz Bhandar in Kakonhat, said they have already sold about 10,000 capsules for sex pheromone traps as increasing number of vegetable farmers are using it in their fields.
Dev Dulal Dhali, deputy director of the DAE in Rajshahi, said they have arranged several demonstration plots at different villages to popularise the method among the grassroots farmers.
“Sex pheromone trap has been proved successful to save vegetables like cucurbit and fruits like mango and litchi from pest attack. Besides, if toxic pesticides are not used in crop fields, it attracts beneficial insects like bees that help better pollination and yield,” he added.
ATM Rafiqul Islam, Project Director (Agriculture) of Barind Multipurpose Development Authority, said appropriate measures should be taken to sustain the soil productivity and underscored the need for popularizing the method among the farmers for protecting the soil productivity.
If the present practices of indiscriminate and disproportionate uses of chemical fertilizers and harmful pesticides prolong there has been an apprehension of permanent yield decline and soil degradation.