Farmers planning to harvest their paddy, winter vegetables fear losses after untimely rainfall triggered by the cyclonic storm Jawad inundated their croplands across the country.
Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) officials said the rain could negatively impact the harvest of winter vegetables, adding that if this rain goes on and the croplands continue to remain inundated, damage to these crops will be severe.
Besides, crops that survive could become more prone to different diseases and pest attacks. Further damages to the harvest can be averted if the water recedes quickly, otherwise the amount of losses will keep increasing, officials pointed out.
Barishal’s Aman target in jeopardy
In Barishal, farmers were preparing to harvest their crops, especially Aman paddy and winter vegetables, which grew in abundance in their farmlands this season.
The local DAE office had fixed a Aman production target of 19.85 thousand tonnes from 8,56,000 hectares of land in this region. As the cultivation has been swift this year, farmers of the district expected to exceed the target set by the DAE.
However, only 22 per cent of crops have been harvested so far, and farmers were preparing to harvest the rest, when Cyclone Jawad hit the country.
“Although we were expecting to get a bumper yield this season, we now fear losses as most of these croplands are now submerged in the rainwater,” said Md Fahima Haque, an agricultural officer of Barishal’s Sadar upazila.
“The situation here is not good. Most of the croplands are still underwater, and we have nothing to do except wait for the water to recede and croplands to dry up naturally,” said Sabina Yasmin, additional deputy director of Barishal DAE.
“We are trying to estimate the losses and make a list of the affected farmers. We will send these estimates to our superiors in the Agricultural Ministry so that they can provide support,” she added.
Croplands damaged in Madaripur
In Madaripur, around 10,426 hectares of croplands containing winter vegetables and other crops have been damaged in the cyclonic storm, say sources from the Madaripur DAE office.
The damaged crops include Aman, Boro, different winter vegetables, fruits, spices and pulses, local farmers told The Business Post.
“Our crops have been damaged. Now, if we want to recoup our losses, we need to cultivate new crops as soon as possible, but as the croplands are still inundated, we are incapable of starting anew,” said Belal Khan, echoing the predicament of other farmers.
Many growers, who were taking preparation to harvest their vegetables, now fear massive losses as the vast swathes croplands have been submerged due to the torrential rainfall in the district, said Moazzem Hossain, deputy director of Madaripur DAE
Moazzem added that the local DAE had set a target of producing 45,109 hectares of land. “We are trying to estimate the losses. As soon as we get it done, we will launch different incentive packages to help the affected farmers,” he added.
Farmlands underwater in Khulna
Farmers of Khulna district are facing the same situation. Only 25 per cent of Aman paddy had been harvested before the cyclone hit the country, said the Khulna DAE office sources.
According to them, 93,125 hectares of cropland were brought under Aman cultivation in the district.
“We were expecting a bumper yield this season. But the untimely rain has ruined our crops, and all our dreams have been shattered,” said farmer Aman Uddin, whose four bighas of cropland is currently underwater.
“Not only most of the crops have been damaged, but the remaining crops will now be more prone to diseases and pest attacks, which might cause huge losses to the local farmers,” said Md Hafizur Rahman, deputy director of Khulna DAE office.
Hafizur added that they are trying to estimate the damages.