While many farmers in Odisha are worried due to pest attack on their standing paddy crops, a farmer in Ganjam district is preparing for harvest as his crop is free from brown plant hopper (BPH) disease. Having grown a special variety of paddy, Subrat Adhikari of Tentuapada village under Digapahandi block in the district claimed he is unaffected by the pest menace. Vice Chancellor of Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT), Surendranath Pasupalak along with some scientists on Friday visited his field and found the crop was free-from much talked BPH disease. The 39-year-old farmer cultivated around 8 acres of paddy variety "Hasanta", which was developed by the OUAT about three years ago. The standing Hasanta paddy crop was free from BPH, said Adhikari, who took to cultivation as his occupation after completing his degree in science. Like Adhikari, other farmers in the village who cultivated this variety of paddy, are also relaxed as their standing crop is also free from BPH.
However, the standing paddy crops of other varieties in the village were damaged due to the pest attack. At least four farmers, including Adhikari, cultivated the Hasanta variety in around 14-acres of land in the village. "It shows that the Hasanta, developed by the OUAT, is free from pest attack," said the OUAT VC who visited the area. Stating that the paddy variety was introduced three years ago by the university, he said the team also held discussion with the farmers on the menace and loss suffered by them due to the pest attack. Hasanta, a high-yielding and pest-resistant paddy variety which can be harvested in 145 days, was released by the scientists of OUAT in 2014. "I had cultivated this new variety in a small patch of land the same year with the advice of a scientist of the university. In subsequent years, I grew it in more areas," said Adhikari. The productivity of the variety was between 30 to 32 quintals per acre, he said adding the crop is in harvesting stage and we will cut the crop in a week.
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