Fungal pest scythes paddy in Shimoga

Pesticides used previously have proved ineffective this time to check blast disease

Fungal pest scythes paddy in Shimoga

A farmer from Hasudi village near Shimoga displaying paddy saplings infected with  ‘blast disease.’ dh photo

Paddy fields in Yalavatti, Hasudi, Doddatanda, Holebenavalli villages, Anavatti hobli of Sorab taluk and Talaguppa of Sagar taluk are infected by blast disease. It is said that 50 per cent of the paddy saplings  has been destroyed. This is a fungal disease which affecs both aerial and root tissues of paddy saplings. It spreads through water and air.

Paddy fields in Hasudi and surrounding villages which should have worn a lush green look appear ashen because of the fungal infection.

White blight disease appears in paddy crops every year but farmers had been able to control it with the use of pesticides available in the market. This time, the recommended pesticides have proved ineffective. Villagers of Yalavatti are sore that agriculture department officials are yet to visit the infected fields. They have demanded proper guidance from the department in managing the disease.

Ramesh, a marginal farmer from Hasudi, said that paddy cultivated last year was completely destroyed by brown hopper disease. Farmers did not have rice for even for their own consumption. He said he might switch to other crops next year as paddy had proved vulnerable to pest and fungal attacks.

District Hasiru Sene President Y G Mallikarjun has demanded that the administration should bring paddy under the crop insurance scheme. The compensation of Rs 800 per acre for total damage and Rs 400 for partial damage for last monsoon’s brown hopper disease was inadequate for farmers to obtain seeds for sowing in the current season, he said.

Joint Director of Agriculture Dr Shivamurthappa told Deccan Herald that carbendazim which is used against fungal infection was being provided to farmers at 50 per cent subsidy.

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