Thousands of Boro growers in Sunamganj are in fear of losing their crop due to attack by neck blast disease during harvesting season.
The worst affected areas are Bishwambarpur, Tahirpur, Dharmapasha and Jagannathpur upazilas.
Prof Abdul Muqit of Plant Pathology and Seed Science Department of Sylhet Agricultural University said neck blast is a deadly fungal disease that can cause 100 percent loss of Boro harvest.
“Heat in the daytime and cool weather at night helps the disease to spread rapidly in the farmlands of haor areas. Moreover, lack of water is also causing the spread of the disease,” the expert said.
Muqit said no medicine will work if the disease spreads when the paddy is ripe enough for cultivation, it will work only before the paddy ripens.
Farmers in the district said mostly BRRI Dhan-28 and in some areas BRRI Dhan-29 are being affected by neck blast disease.
“At first, we could not understand that our paddy was being affected by neck blast, but suddenly we saw that the paddy husk was drying up and becoming whitish, while the neck had turned black,” said Abdus Salam, a farmer of Bordhol village in Tahirpur upazila.
“After seeing the sign of blast, I sprayed medicine on my land as per the agriculture officer's advice, but it is not working,” said Selim Akanjee, a farmer in Shanir Haor area.
“I cultivated Boro paddy on 28 acres of land, but the blast disease destroyed my crop, which cannot be used as fodder even,” said Saiful Islam, a farmer of Angaruli Haor area in Bishwambarpur upazila.
“I borrowed money to cultivate paddy and worked hard, but now I do not have money to buy or spray machine. The agriculture department should take prompt action to save our remaining crop,” said Amir Uddin, another farmer in the same area.
“Farmers should not be worried about losing their harvest as the disease has not become an epidemic and the situation is under control. Only 65 hectares of Boro land have been affected by the disease, out of 2,22,000 hectares,” said district Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) Assistant Director Swapan Kumar Saha.
“All they have to do is to follow the instructions already circulated among the farmers by DAE,” he added.