Jalandhar, September 2
After unprecedented floods and heat waves battered their crops, farmers in the region are now struggling with a mysterious new disease that has ravaged the paddy crop in various blocks of Doaba — with Adampur, Phillaur and Bhogpur blocks being the worst-hit in Jalandhar.
1.75L hectares under paddy cultivation in Jalandhar
45K families into occupation of agriculture in district
“Pehli vari vekhi eho jehi bimari. Mahine ton vi ghat reh gaya katai vich, par sannu chungge jhaar di ummeed nahi (We are seeing such a disease for the first time. There is less than a month to go for the harvest, but we don’t expect a good yield),” says a Jalandhar-based farmer.
No cure for disease
The impact of the disease is at about 2%. There is so far no cure for it. Farmers were spraying zinc and urea on the crops but the department asked them not to waste time and money. The crop is at the maturity stage and it’s too late for a cure. Surinder Singh, Chief Agricultural Officer, Jalandhar
Give us quality seeds
We can already estimate 10 per cent yield to be damaged. The seeds that we get are from Karnal University. If PAU provided us with quality seeds in keeping with Punjab climate, much damage could have been prevented. Satnam Singh Sahni, BKU (Doaba) leader
The widespread stunted paddy growth, also known as the dwarf disease, has farmers worried. In Punjabi, farmers refer to it as the ‘Ganda Rog’ or ‘Kad Chota Rog’. At Rurka and Shahkot blocks, too, there have been significant damages.
Experts from the agricultural department say no cure has so far been found for the disease which is in official parlance — known as the “southern rice black streaked dwarf disease”.
Tarsem Singh Dhillon, a farmer from Paddi Jagir village in Phillaur, says: “In Phillaur, 85 per cent of the farm land in under paddy. If a farmer has 10 acres, stunted crop growth has been reported on at least 2 acres. The Agriculture Department is clueless and has no effective solution. None of the fertlisers or sprays is working. The administration should have caught the wind of the disease first and alerted farmers’ months ago. But now it’s too late.” Speaking about the causes for dwarf disease, he said: “Farmers should get good seeds which thrive in any weather and are resistant to climate change. The seeds we get are of inferior quality. The added impact of climate change can’t be ruled out either. But the department hasn’t been able to tell us any concrete cause.”
Bhartiya Kisan Union, (Doaba) leader Satnam Singh Sahni said: “The crop is still in growing stage. We can already estimate that overall 10 per cent yield of the crop has been destroyed due to the dwarf disease. However, once the harvest is over, the damage might rise to 15 to 20 per cent. The primary seeds that Punjab farmers are getting - both for paddy and sugarcane - are from Karnal University. If Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, provided us with quality seeds in keeping with Punjab climate and the recent changes in it, much damage could have been prevented. Punjab needs advanced agricultural research to ascertain and ensure quality of seeds so that farmers’ economy isn’t impacted. The new disease is a huge dampener to farmers this year.”
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