Arunachal: Severe pest infestation on dry rice cultivation at Lower Dibang valley concerns farmers of possible famine

PASIGHAT (By- Maksam Tayeng)- Yet after last year’s major pest infestation to the wetland paddy crop and its subsequent severe damages caused to the farmers of East Siang, Lower Dibang Valley and other nearby districts, one more such pest infestation is reported again this time at Dambuk area of Lower Dibang Valley district which is causing severe infestation to Jhum paddy crop during its early growth.

 Concerned over the severe pest infestation to Jhum cultivation (dry rice), the farmers of Dambuk have appealed to the agricultural department to help them to cope up with the damages to paddies which if not controlled may cause famine like situation in Lower Dibang valley’s farmers. In a letter to Agricultural Development Officer, Dambuk on 3rd June 2021, Poblung-A village Gram Panchayat Member under Dambuk Sub-Division, Katem Pertin has drew the attention of agricultural department while citing nearby 60% of jhum rice cultivation damage by pest infestation and has sought the help of the department to reduce the possible further damages which if not checked may possibly cause famine in the area.

 In his letter, Pertin has also recalled the similar incident of last year wherein wetland rice cultivation (locally called Asi Arik Aam) were severely infested with pest that has caused massive loss of food grains in Dambuk area. “Last year our wetland rice cultivation was 100% damaged by an unknown insect. Now the same insect is damaging our Jhum rice cultivation (locally called Amo Aam). Already it has visibly caused almost more than 60% damage. Now it is obvious that we are already in a famine-like condition and so to save at least 40% of the dry paddy crop we need the help of the agricultural department”, said Poblung-A GPM, Katem Pertin.

 Meanwhile, when contacted, the concerned ADO Dambuk, Anni Lego has confirmed the pest infestation of dry rice crop under her circle who after receipt of the complaint from farmers has also visited some of the dry rice paddy fields and found the severe infestation. “After receiving complaints about pest infestation, I visited the fields and found the pest to be White Backed Plant Hopper, the same pest which had infested the wetland rice last year. The farmers were advised to spray either Imidacloprid or Monocrotophos or Dichlorvos with 1-2ml/litre water to control the pest”, said Anni Lego.

While talking with this scribe over phone this evening, Anni Lego said that she has visited six fields after receiving complaints from respective farmers and some others couldn’t be visited due to heavy rain from the last many days. She also informed that the crop is in its early stage so farmers are advised to refrain from self diagnosis and treatment and if there is such occurrence of pest infestation then they must first inform the department at the earliest for proper advice and solution as wetland rice cultivation season is also approaching.

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