Pests ruin paddy on 89,000 ha

DROUGHT conditions triggered a pest attack in 12 paddy growing districts of Orissa. The swarming caterpillars (Spodoptera mauritia) ruined crops on 89,000 hectares (ha) of the four million ha under paddy cultivation in the state.

Sambalpur district was the worst affected; paddy crops on nearly 33,000 ha were destroyed by the pest, called leda poka in Orissa. In Malkangiri district, farms were also attacked by stem borer pests and bacterial leaf blight disease.