On top of the shortage of rainfall, a recent windstorm made things worse for farmers in the northern region of Rajshahi
Soil of the vast crop lands and fruit orchards in Rajshahi have dried considerably due to excessive heat and absence of rainfall.
Farmers and traders say they will face huge loss if necessary precipitation is not seen in the next few weeks since the production of mango, lychee and paddy would be hampered.
The temperature has been above 30°C since the third week of March, according to the district Met Office.
Rajshahi recorded the highest temperature in the country for the last two weeks, which fluctuated between 35°C and 38°C.
On top of that, the recent windstorm during this year’s first nor’wester made things worse.
SM Rezwanul Haque, a senior observer at the Rajshahi Met Office, said that the nor'wester of April 4, accompanied by a heat wave, had swept over the district with a wind speed of 65km/h. At that time, hailstorms in several upazilas including Puthiya and Bagha damaged crops and fruit buds.
According to officials at the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE), farmers this season planted Boro paddy on 66,000 hectares in Rajshahi.
The windstorm damaged around 168 tons of rice with six tons of paddy per hectare, reads a damage report prepared by the local DAE office.
On the other hand, fruit growers and traders said that the sudden nor’wester had damaged over 20% of the mango and lychee buds.
Saiful Islam, a mango farmer, said: “Since the arrival of the buds, there has not been any rain. The excessive heat and drought followed by the windstorm damaged 20% of all my buds. Now I am taking special care of the remaining buds.”
The district’s agriculture department says that they set a production target of 225,000 tons for mangoes this season from orchards in 18,000 hectares of land in the district, popular across the country for its tasty mangoes.
The officials have assured the farmers that the loss of mango buds in the recent windstorm is not worrisome, saying that the mango trees release some of the flowers naturally to maintain structural integrity.
Rajshahi DAE Deputy Director Abdul Awal said: “Due to high temperature and low humidity, some of the paddy plants are dying in the fields. Even though the windstorm has damaged some paddy fields, the mango buds remain relatively unaffected.”