Potato growers of Thakurgaon and Panchagarh districts are worried due to attack of late blight disease at different villages of the two northern districts.
Leaf blight is a fungal disease, locally known as ‘patamora rog’. If immediate steps are not taken, leaves of the affected plants crumple, turn blackish, and die shortly, said Arshed Ali, deputy director of the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) in Thakurgaon.
“The disease appeared due to cold and foggy weather and fluctuation in temperature between day and night. To check the disease, we are suggesting farmers to spray on their potato fields two gram of Mencozeb or Metalexyl medicine mixed with one litre of water once a week,” he said.
He claimed that the situation is still under control.
During a recent visit to Yakubpur, Farabari, Chameshwari, Balia and Rahimanpur villages under Thakurgaon Sadar upazila and Moidandighi, Sipaipara and Sakoa villages in Boda upazila of Panchagarh district, this correspondent saw many late blight affected potato fields.
Frequent use of medicine adds to the production cost, said several farmers, who were seen spraying medicine to save the crop.
“I cultivated potato on two bighas (one bigha = .3306 acres) of land, spending about Tk 60 thousand, but a portion of the plants got damaged by the disease. As per suggestion of experts, I sprayed medicine on the field to save the remaining crop,” said Koileshwar Barman, 35, of Yakubpur village.
He had also incurred loss of Tk 45,000 by cultivating early variety of potato as the seeds rotted after 20/25 days of sowing seeds, he said, adding that many other early potato growers of the area faced the same this season.
This season 23,080 hectares of land has been brought under potato cultivation against the target of 21,800 hectares in Thakurgaon while in Panchagarh, the cultivation area is 8,680 hectares of land against the target of 9,505 hectares.
The DAE had set production targets of 4.38 lakh 370 tonnes and 1.86 lakh 773 tonnes of potato in Thakurgaon and Panchagarh districts.