• Friday, Oct 07, 2022
  • Last Update : 10:24 am

Persistent rains increase farmers’ worries

farmers crops
File photo: Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

Nevertheless, Netrakona farmers are expecting a profitable boro paddy yield

Fearing a delayed harvest of boro paddy, farmers in Khulna and Netrakona are in distress as the monsoon rains have begun pouring and they are yet to cut most of their crops.

The boro paddy is late in ripening this season due to untimely rainfall and a prolonged winter last year, and farmers are worried about their harvest due to the new problem-- manpower shortage amid the Covid-19 nationwide shutdowns.

In Khulna, according to the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) office, only 18% of the paddy has been harvested. They are worried as the district has had 124 millimetres of rainfall in the last three days. The office said the crops which have not been harvested yet would face minimal damage while the harvested grain will face even more damage.

Amirul Azad, in charge of the Bangladesh Meteorological Department (Met office), Khulna unit, said the district has had heavy rains since Thursday and it's possible that the rains will persist for a few more days, waterlogging most of the crop fields.

Farmers and DAE sources said, along with Dumuria and the swamp areas of Singair, Baniakhali, Khalshi, Bamondia, and Gonalir are already waterlogged due to the rains and the crops are half underwater which might damage quality.

Jamal Gazi, a Dumuria farmer said he had already harvested his half acre of boro paddy, but due to the rains most of it might be damaged before he can safely store it.

Although Dumuria Agriculture Officer Md Mossaddek Hossain said the rain will not affect the harvest of the area, farmers Abdul Aziz, Nurul Islam, and Shahjahan Fakir say their crops are on the way to be wasted soon.

The official said 30% of the 21,205 acres of crop land in Dumuria has been harvested.

Pangkaj Kanti Majumdar, deputy director of Khulna DAE said the total harvest amounts to 57,540 acres of lands in Khulna this season, of which 18% has been harvested.

“The persistent rain will have no effect on the paddy as the sunlight is also right this year,” added the official.

Meanwhile, in Netrakona, farmers are busy harvesting boro paddy--which is expected to provide a high yield this season--in 134 haors of Madan-Mohanganj and Khaliajuri upazilas of the district.

Though production is abundant this year, farmers are suffering from tremendous manpower shortage due to the Covid-19 outbreak and fear early floods soon due to the persistent rainfall.

According to the Netrakona DAE office, they have provided 42 combine harvesters and 8 reaper machines to assist farmers who are not able to manage additional farmworkers like in past years.

Habibur Rahman, deputy director of DAE said: “The government is paying 50% of the total cost of these machines to assist the farmers. We provided 28 harvester machines to the swamp areas as production is high there. We hope the harvest will soon end and will fetch a good price this year.”

However, Shafikul Islam, Monir Hossain, Sukomol Sarker and other farmers said the allocated machines are not enough for the large areas of cropland and the authority should allocate more machines to make the harvest sooner.

Contacted, Deputy Commissioner Moinul Islam, who regularly visits the farmers, said: “If they ask for more we will provide extra farmworkers from other districts to assist them.”

“All necessary help will be provided to the farmers,” the official promised.

He added that more than 1.84 lakh acres of land are shining with flowering boro paddy in Netrakona district.

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