Agriculturists predict that the aman paddy production might not reach its target mark this season in the southern region due to hostile weather. Previously, aush paddy plantation and production targets were not achieved in the Kharif-1 season.
Related sources expressed their concern about achieving food security in the region whereas in the previous years there was a rice surplus.
In the 11 districts of the Barishal agricultural zone, aush paddy was cultivated on 2,4,670 hectares of land in the Kharif-1 season, which was less by almost 25,000 hectares than the target.
In the current Kharif-2 season the Ministry of Agriculture has set a target of obtaining about 15 lakh tonnes of aman rice from about seven lakh hectares in the southern region.
But the production of aman paddy seedbeds was disrupted due to a lack of rain during the monsoon. Afterwards, low pressure in the Bay of Bengal turned into depression and along with heavy rainfalls in the late monsoon, tidal surges inundated coastal areas of the southern region.
The sudden floods submerged the ripe aush paddy fields along with aman seedbeds and plantations. Due to the aman seedbed plantation, about 20 per cent of Barguna’s paddy fields is still uncultivated.
According to Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) Barishal sources, farmers of other districts of the region including Barishal, Bhola, Patuakhali, Pirojpur and Jhalakathi have almost completed aman paddy plantation by collecting seeds from other areas.
However, even though the planting period is over, including Barguna, aman cultivation has not been completed in more than 16 per cent of the land in the southern region.
As a result, agriculturists are concerned about reaching the target of 15 lakh tonnes of rice production from aman paddy.
Meanwhile, aush paddy cultivation has decreased from two lakh hectares of land to 1.76 lakh hectares of land. According to the DAE, this is the lowest in recent times.
Aush harvest is near completed in six districts of the southern region, but the possibility of getting 6.16 lakh tonnes of clean rice is quite slim. In addition to not achieving the planting target due to the lack of rain, the semi-ripe and ripe Aush paddy fields were flooded due to tidal surges and heavy rainfalls.
As a result, in addition to cultivation being hampered due to lack of rain, it will not be possible to achieve the desired production target due to two consecutive floods and excessive rainfall, field-level agricultural officers believe.
But DAE is yet to finalise the production calculations. According to sources, due to lack of rain, the amount of aush cultivation will decrease by about 12 to 15 per cent across the country.
DAE sources said the cultivation of this grain food crop across the country has decreased to 11 lakh hectares from last year’s 13 lakh hectares of land.
“As a result of hostile weather, clean rice production is expected to be decreased from last year’s 34 lakh tonnes to 30 lakh tonnes this year,” Barishal Divisional DAE Additional Director Hridayesher Datta said.