Thousands of hectare of land have come under this new challenge and the farmers have become helpless.
Areas like Sri Suryagiri, Harimura, Bhelakhamar, Domoni, Matia of East Goalpara have come under this spell. Moreover, the agricultural areas along Assam-Meghalaya border like Zira, Dayrong and Hatigaon have also faced similar problem.
Fulchand Ali, a framer from Bhatipara under Matia development block said, “My entire paddy field has been attacked by this stem borer or ‘Mazaakhowa’ insect. First, we suffered due to lack of heavy rainfall and now we have this problem. We are helpless.”
When asked whether the Agriculture Department has approached the farmers at this need of the hour, he replied in negative.
The conditions of the other farmers like Rahim Ali, Ahmed Ali, Amir Hamza are similar.
However, they are hopeful that with the assistance of the Agriculture Department they would be able to overcome this hurdle.
“This is just beginning of the attack; it can be cured like the other years. We are hopeful that we will be successful in producing sufficient rice despite this attack,” the farmers said.
Meanwhile, Ikramul Islam, SDO of the District Agriculture Office, Goalpra said that they don’t have the first-hand knowledge of the appearance of this pest. However, he assured of taking initiative through the Area Development Officer (ADO).
Stem borers can destroy rice at any stage of the plant from seedling to maturity. They feed upon tillers and cause drying of the central tiller during the vegetative stage and cause whiteheads at the productive stage.
The total agricultural area of Goalpara district is 102,600 hectares out of which 52,000 hectares are Sali paddy area and this is the prime food of the locals.