Farmers, particularly paddy growers, in the Chittagong region are increasingly leaning towards the environment-friendly and low-cost perching method for killing harmful insects.
The method involves setting up tree branches and bamboo poles on crop fields to let birds perch on those. The birds eat the pests and thus protect crops. At night, owls use the perches and hunt rats, making pesticides redundant.
As part of popularizing the method among farmers, the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) has initiated a total of 144 perching festivals in five districts of the Chittagong region.
DAE says the perching method has been used over an area of 502,703 hectares of cropland in five districts of Chittagong region in FY 2017-18. In 2018-19, the eco-friendly method has already been used in 414,280 hectares of cropland in the five districts of the region in.
DAE (Chittagong region) Additional Director Abul Hossain Talukder said that the perching method has now become a popular practice among paddy farmers.
“The method, an alternative to using pesticides, is now playing a significant role in protecting paddy fields from pest attacks,” he said.
“It is very easy to use and we are encouraging farmers to adopt it. It has reduced indiscriminate use of pesticides that threaten the ecological balance. As the toxic pesticides eventually get mixed with water bodies, some indigenous species of fish have already become extinct and many others are counting their days,” the DAE official said.
“We have set a target of covering 537,915 hectares of cropland with the perching method during 2017-18 and we achieved 93% of our target. Likewise, we have fixed a target of using the method on over 554,081 hectares of cropland in the current FY 2018-19, and we have already achieved 75% of the target,” added the official.