KHULNA: The farmers in Khulna, Bagerhat, Satkhira, Jashore are struggling to get rid of mite attack in the coconut plants as mites are destroying both fruits and trees in the region.
Farmers said mite attack was deforming the fruits and causing spots on their skins. Farmers became frighten at the massive mite attack on coconut plants.
The Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE), Khulna Senior Agriculture Officer Abu Yubaiya said the coconut tree rejuvenates and creates soil and it has plentiful uses. More interestingly, it grows luxuriantly in salinity-prone area without application of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and is grown absolutely organically.
Abu Yubaiya added that coconut acts as an enormous resource of raw materials for various uses like drinks, oil, cosmetics, soaps, food and cakes, timber, coir, leaf thatch, mats, and a potential source of various small, medium and large scale industries.
Coconut shell is used for making crockery, utensils, handcrafts, and activated carbon for making masks for chemical and biological wars, he said.
Deputy Director of DAE, Khulna Md Hafizur Rahman said though Khulna region is suitable for coconut farming. He blamed the fall of water level and farmers’ ignorance about the use of mitecides for the present condition.
A well-to-do farmer, Jalal Dhali of village Jaigirmohal under Koyra upazila of Khulna district said most of the coconut plants in his farm were affected by mites and mites were destroying the fruits and trees.
The farmers said they informed the field level activists of DAE about the attack several times, but the advices they were provided with, could not save their plants and fruits.
Some farmers said they came to know that the high rising towers of mobile phone companies were mainly liable for the disease, the trees’ fruit bearing capacity and mite attack on the trees.
When contacted Additional Deputy Director of DAE, Khulna (plant protection) Md Motahar Hossain denied the effect of phone towers behind the spread of mites and said farmer’s ignorance was basically liable for the spread of this disease.
Farmers only depended on the chemical fertilizers and collected pesticides on credits form the fertilizer dealers and used those on their plants, he alleged. He further said farmers brought destruction by their own hands.
Motahar Hossain said the farmers should take care of their plants properly. He suggested mitecide Carbofuran to treat the affected plants and asked the farmers to keep their plants clean. Adequate fertilizer, organic or chemical, must be applied to the trees, he added.