‘Rice blast’ leaves Pulwama farmers worried
Pulwama: The persistent rice blast disease has left hundreds of farmers worried in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district who claimed to have suffered heavy loss due the disease.
The farmers while talking to ‘Kashmir Vision’ said that they are sufferings 50% loss of crop due to this disease every year while no steps are being taken by concerned authorities to reduce the damage.
The disease has hit the crops in several areas including Litter, Panzgam, Rakh, Zahidbagh, Niloora, Allaiepora, Nowpora, Lassipora, Kakapora, Newa, Ratnipora of Pulwama district.
The disease has also affected the crops in Nahir, Khasipora and Chatrogam areas of Tral, thus leaving the farmers dismayed.
“We suffered losses due to the rice blast disease. The disease is bound to reduce the rice production in the area this year,” Tariq Ahmed, a farmer from litter said.
He said that last year they complained about such disease before the concerned authorities and urged them to conduct soil testing programmes. “They assured to fulfill our demands but later nothing happened on ground,” he added.
Farmers alleged that even the crop varieties provided by agriculture departments also get affected by this disease. “We don’t have any other source of income and this disease is affecting our livelihood,” they said.
They said that over a dozen of brick kilns are functioning in Lassipora area, which also causes damage to their crops, demanding the authorities to take cognizance of the issue.
The famers demanded government to provide compensation to them.
Chief Agriculture Officer (CAO) Pulwama, Mohammad Yousuf Shah said that rice blast affects the old varieties of paddy only and the varieties provided by the department have given bumper crop this year.
“Farmers must work in cooperation with the department so that this disease can be eradicated once for all,” he said, admitting brick kilns are affecting the environment as the crops as well.