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SBD Regents Invade Grasshopper Pests

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WEETABULA, Southwest Sumba Regency Government (SBD) moved quickly to overcome the widespread attack of the Kumbara locust pest in the area by forming a Task Force (Satgas) for the Prevention and Spraying of Grasshopper Pests. As a result, within two weeks, the Task Force managed to eradicate the locust clones that attacked the residents’ rice plants.

Deputy Regent of SBD, Marthen Christian Taka, SIP told TIMEX in Tambolaka, the Capital of SBD Regency, that currently the Task Force specially formed by the Regent of SBD, dr. Kornelis Kodi Cashew continues to spray to eradicate the Kumbara locust pest.

“The decline is very significant. We continue to spray through the Task Force from night to morning,” explained Christian Taka, last weekend. “In order to break the chain of Kumbara locust clones, spraying must be carried out continuously,” he said.

He explained that when pests entered the SBD Regency area and began to attack the residents’ rice, his party through the SBD Regency Agriculture Service immediately coordinated for the formation of a Task Force team to carry out prevention and spraying at the Kumbara locust clone point.

The agencies that play an active role in the Task Force are the Department of Agriculture, the Regional Disaster Management Agency (BPBD) and the Department of Public Works. This team started working from day to morning from August 2 to 9, 2021.

From the results of this Task Force’s hard work, there was a very significant decline. “We are still working with the regent, we even have to stay at people’s houses to do prevention and spraying at night until the morning. This kumbara locust clone is constantly moving. We also keep moving to follow where they go,” said Christian Taka. “Now the clones are starting to decrease,” he continued excitedly.

The Deputy Regent disclosed the details of the formation of the Task Force. According to him, the team was formed so that the eradication of locust pests could be done centrally and focused on spraying. The formation of this Task Force received a response from the NTT Provincial Government and the Central Government in this case the Indonesian Ministry of Agriculture by sending medical aid through Waingapu, the capital of East Sumba Regency and being picked up by the Deputy Regent of SBD himself.

The Impact of Kumbara Grasshoppers

According to Christian, if the Kumbara locust is left unchecked, it will have an impact on rice ready to be harvested around Waikelo Sawah, East Wewewa District. According to him, there are about 100 hectares (ha) of rice that has turned yellow and is ready to be harvested. If the grasshoppers are left alone without spraying, there will be huge losses experienced by the farming community in Waikelo Sawah.

The Ministry of Agriculture, said the Deputy Regent, advised farmers to take part in the Rice Farming Business Insurance Program (AUTP) so as not to suffer losses due to crop failure. The AUTP program will provide protection in the form of insurance when farmers experience crop failure.

“That way, farmers will be calm in developing agricultural cultivation. This AUTP will provide protection in the form of insurance whenever farmers experience crop failure due to climate change or pest attacks,” said Minister of Agriculture Syahrul as quoted by the Deputy Head of SBD.

The Director General of Agricultural Infrastructure and Facilities (PSP) of the Ministry of Agriculture, Ali Jamil explained, the AUTP program will provide coverage of Rp. 6 million per hectare per season in the event of crop failure. That way, Ali assesses that farmers can still produce and increase their agricultural productivity.

Ali assessed that the level of welfare of farmers will not be disturbed even if crop failures hit. “Because farmers still have the capital to restart their planting season. The AUTP program is in line with the national agricultural development goals, namely providing food for all people, improving farmers’ welfare and boosting exports,” said Ali.

The Director of Financing for the Directorate General of PSP at the Ministry of Agriculture, Indah Megahwati, added that there are many benefits if farmers participate in the AUTP program. It’s also quite easy to join. “Farmers must join farmer groups and register the land they will be insured before they are 30 days old,” said Indah.

Regarding financing, Indah said that farmers only need to pay a premium of IDR 36 thousand per hectare per growing season from the AUTP premium of IDR 180 thousand per hectare per planting season. “The remaining Rp144 thousand is subsidized by the government through the state budget. There are many benefits from this AUTP program, of course, at a low cost,” he said. (freddy/yoppylati)

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