Rajshahi, Dec 16 – Farmers in Chapainawabganj are struggling to contain an unidentified virus ravaging the tomato fields across the district.
No antidote is working and farmers say they fear massive loss this season.
Many farmers chose to cultivate advance species of tomato in the shoal areas. While the production and prices were both satisfactory this year, the recent spread of virus is bringing farmers to their knees.
Farmers said they had to spend Tk 20,000 to Tk 25,000 for producing tomato in each bigha (roughly 14,400 square feet) and currently the harvesting season is underway.
Although the production fell slightly this year, the price is higher compared to the last season. Each maund (37.42 kgs) of tomato is selling for Tk 1,000 to Tk 1,100.
“We were making profits but suddenly the virus started damaging the plants. Antidotes suggested by the local agriculture department officials and insecticide companies are not working,” said Aminul Islam, a tomato farmer of Debinagar area of Sadar upazila.
Another farmer Abdul Hannan said the infected plants are turning red and their production is coming down significantly. “We are very worried,” he added.
Manjurul Huda, the deputy director of local Department of Agriculture Extension, said farmers cultivated various types of hybrid tomatoes on around 1,000 hectors of land this year.
Lack of Gypsum fertilizer or use of old seeds may be behind the virus infection, he said. “We are looking into it. We’ll collect details on the virus infection and then take actions to prevent it,” he said. – UNB