Brown plant-hoppers or BPH insects have infested the Ropa Aman paddy fields for the first time in the Subarnachar area of Noakhali. Farmers in the area are frustrated because they do not know how to get rid of them.
The District Agriculture Office has cancelled all holidays of the upazila agriculture officials to control this infestation of insects in as short a time as possible.
This is the first time that brown plant-hoppers have attacked the crops in Subarnachar upazila. This sudden infestation is severe in Ziar Char, Monnan Cherang, Maddham Bagya of Char Jubille union, and in several areas of Char Zabbar union in the upazila.
In the past week, paddy on more than one hundred hectares of land has been destroyed by the insects.
Farmers of the area have no experience of dealing with brown plant-hoppers. They said the insects destroy the paddy within 12 to 18 hours of the attack. The plant dies afterwards.
They complained that no suggestions from the agriculture officials have been useful against the insects.
Siraj Uddin, a local farmer said, "I took Tk2 lakh in loans from an NGO and a bank to cultivate the Aman paddy. I planned to repay the loans by selling the harvest, but the insects ruined everything. Crops on four acres of land have already been destroyed."
Another farmer named Salah Uddin said the insects will wreak havoc on the paddy fields of the area if they cannot be halted immediately.
"The insects have destroyed many crop fields around my farm. I am afraid they will attack my paddy field soon," said Salah Uddin.
He also said insecticides do not have an effect on brown plant-hoppers.
Shahidul Islam, the agriculture officer of Subarnachar upazila, said, "All the agriculture officials will be on the fields as long as the spread of the insects is not checked."
Abul Hossain, deputy director of the Department of Agricultural Extension, said, "The insects attacked because the land was still damp after the rain in the last few days. The light trap method did not help in identifying the insects properly this year, so farmers could not be warned."