The severity of the disease causes reduction in grain yield
Farmers who cultivated the BRRI-28 rice variety in Nilphamari and Feni are worried about their output this Boro season, as blast disease has been detected on their crops.
The blast disease is one of the most severe rice plant diseases caused by fungus and it develops fast, especially on the neck of BRRI-28 rice plants in inclement weather, according to sources at the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) office in Domar upazila, Nilphamari.
The severity of the disease causes reduction in grain yield. A number of farmers, who will have to sustain losses due to the disease this season, said pesticides suggested by the agriculture office were not useful, and the disease developed further in increasing numbers of farmlands.
Motiur Rahman Bullet, a farmer of Khamar Bamunia village in Domar upazila, said: "I have cultivated Boro paddy on six bighas of land this season and 80% of my grain was affected by the disease. I estimate a loss of Tk39,000."
Shahinur Rahman, another farmer in the upazila, said he planted BRRI-28 on two bighas of land. But the blast disease infected most of it within a short time and left him in despair, despite a bumper harvest. Other rice farmers in the upazila are experiencing the same.
Farmers Habibur Rahman and Nazimuddin had similar sentiments saying that pesticides recommended by the upazila agriculture office were not useful.
This season Boro was planted on 13,100 hectares of land in Domar upazila of Nilphamari, with BRRI-28 being cultivated on 1,600 hectares of that.
DAE targeted a production of 85,150 tons of Boro paddy this season and around 20% of the crops have been harvested until now, according to Domar upazila agriculture office statistics.
Anisuzzaman, an agriculture officer at the upazila, said they have been providing the necessary advice to farmers to deal with the blast disease, as well as ways to maintain precautionary measures during the coronavirus pandemic. "Neck blast disease only attacks the BRRI-28 variety of rice. We have suggested farmers grow rice varieties other than BRRI-28 in the future,” Anisuzzaman added.
Farmers in Parshuram upazila of Feni have begun harvesting their paddy and blast disease has affected some of them so far.
According to sources at the upazila agriculture office, the blast disease has infected only a little over 10 hectares of the 2,450 hectares of land where Boro is cultivated in the upazila.
Md Belal Hossain, a farmer from Shatyanagar village of the upazila, said: " I have cultivated boro on 0.4 acres of land. I was about to begin harvest within a few days but most of my crops were damaged due to the blast disease."
Farmers Abul Khayer, Lutful Haque and a few other farmers, said they have experienced the same.
Md Kamruzzaman, an agriculture officer of the upazila said: “We have been providing the necessary advice to farmers affected by the disease.Inclement weather is mainly responsible for the outbreak of the disease.”