U Ti Reh, aged about 60, is removing the armyworm one by one with his hand at his corn farm.
The pest has a brown body, long about (3) centimeters, and its size is equivalent to two seeds of rice.
The farmers encountered this corn infestation problems by last year in Kayah State, and their corn yield has declined.
The infestations also occurred this year, and farmers are worrying for the price of corn due to the outbreak COVID-19 pandemic.
Ti, who has cultivated corn for five years consecutively, started facing with the infestation by last year, and he is now attempting to remove the pest by applying the pesticide and removing the pest with his hands.
“The corn plants are still small and not fully grown because there was no rain and sunny during May. Besides, the pests have already fed inside the corn plants. Some corn leaves are even damaged.” said Ti.
Corn can be planted after plowing if the farmland accesses well rain or if the soil has enough moisture. Ti is the one who planted corn at the beginning of spring on May.
The pest started destroying the corn plants about after two weeks of plant growth.
Ti said the infestation is declined little after spraying the pesticide. However, they have no water resource in their farmlands.
In that case, Ti has to carry the water with Htaw Lar Gyi vehicle from home to corn farm, which takes about 20 minutes ride.
In present day, most farmers mainly use pesticide and chemical fertilizer to prevent from infestation and for better growth of crops. Ti said the fertilizer price is a bit more expensive due to current outbreak of pandemic.
Ti also said he already applied fertilizer when sowed the seed, and he will add the fertilizer again for stronger growth.
Regard to pesticide, he had to use it because of the infestation, and he never used it if no infestation.
In case of removing pests at corn farms, Ti said, “It may be more effective if we could spray pesticide twice. However, I will do it once.” He also said he could not effort the cost to spray twice.
He kept saying that it costs twenty thousand Kyats for spraying one time. However, he may spray twice in case the condition is getting worse.
He said he applied pesticide twice last year due to the corn farm infestation.
Besides, the pest feeding occurred until the corn fruits were ripened, and the crop yield declined. However, it did not damage huge because he used pesticide.
Weeding should be done on time after planting one month so that your corn plant will grow stronger.
When weeding, it costs more if you use manpower to do it. In that case, Ti said he rent only few workers and rely only his work power as possible as he can. He continued explaining that not much profit left when selling the corn yield because it costs very high if you rent workers.
There are losses in business due to the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic. In Kayah State, the farmers like Ti are keep going and working in farms for their living.
Ti said it might not be difficult as he will rent only four or five workers for his corn farm weeding.
It mentioned on Green Way’s webpage on May 18 that they have known from Myanmar Corn Industrial Association about the corn price, which increases approximately from 500 to 520 per Peittha. Currently those corns are exported to Thailand.
Present day is the outbreak of COVID-19. Since the crop price is unstable, the corn farmers like Ti who are encountering the pest infestation, are reluctantly hoping to have higher price of corn in their harvest time.