Fall armyworm outbreak worries Dharan farmers

Sunsari, October 16

Paddy farmers are a worried lot following the armyworm outbreak in Sunsari at a time when they are all set to harvest paddy.

The outbreak has mostly affected Dharan-5 and 17. Worried about the outbreak, some farmers in Thingabari in Dharan-5 have even started reaping their crops well before they are ripened.

Dharan-5 and 17 are wards declared fit for agriculture by Dharan sub-metropolis. But, while the paddy crops in Ward No 5 are mostly affected by a local pest, fall armyworm, a pest type particularly found in the Americas, has affected Ward No 17. While the local pest damages ripe crops, fall armyworm targets green crops and even leafy vegetables.

Meanwhile, following the outbreak, farmers of wards 5 and 17 have sought help from the sub-metropolis. They have sought help to contain the outbreak and also compensation for the damage caused.

“Due to the outbreak this year, I don’t think I will be able to gather even half of the yields I used to from my field in previous years,” said a leading farmer Shukra Bahadur Sambahamfe of Dharan-5.

“Though this is not the first time armyworms have damaged our crops, the damage this time has been much more than the previous years,” he said, adding that paddy had been cultivated in over 200 hectare land in Dharan-5.

Dharan sub-metropolis acting chief Manju Bhandari pledged help to farmers who have become victims of fall armyworm. “While farmers will be provided training to save their crops, we will also do the needful to control the outbreak,” she said.