Grasshopper swarm destroys crops in Kathua district

Monday, August 30, 2010

KATHUA - Farmers in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua district and adjacent areas have been hit by a swarm of grasshoppers.

The new species of grasshopper is destroying maize, paddy, fodder and barley crops.

“This time we are facing a lot of problems because of the attack by the grasshoppers. Our harvest of paddy, maize and fodder has been completely damaged. We are also taking help from the department (Agriculture),” said Balwinder Singh, a farmer.

Farmers are worried as they are likely to incur huge loss due to the crop damage.

Farmers also said there is a lack of proper crop insurance policy that can compensate them for the damage wrought by drought, floods and insect attack.Maize, cherry and barley crops are mainly affected. The situation has worsened now. Initially, farmers tried covering the damage by spraying pesticides. We also gave a subsidy. It is under control,” said R. S. Andotra, subject matter specialist, command area development, Hiranagar.

He revealed the crop has been damaged in as much as 840 hectares of land.

“The grasshoppers had been attacking the region since last five-six years but it was a different species. But we made efforts and eventually it was under control. That species used to attack paddy,” said Andotra.

“This year, a new species has attacked, which is born after rainfall. These grasshoppers are bigger in size and it is a different species. It has wreaked havoc in the region and it is getting very difficult to control them,” he added.

The agricultural department is supplying pesticide spray at a subsidised rate; however, it is proving to be ineffective.

The birth rate of the insects is increasing every day due to the incessant rainfall. By Tahir Nadeem Khan (ANI)

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