The district has yet to record any rainfall during the ongoing dry spell
Jute plants on vast tracts of land are drying up in Gopalganj due to unceasing drought that has been prevailing across the country during the ongoing dry spell.
Even though farmers are irrigating their lands with groundwater raised by submersible pumps, the situation remains unchanged. The scorching sun is drying out the tender jute plants, and the dryness of the soil prevents jute seeds from germinating.
Farmers are now worried about the profit from this year’s jute cultivation as the cost of production continues to rise for their having to irrigate the land so frequently.
Local jute farmers say they made good profits last year and so many people took it up, but the drought this season might seriously hamper production.
According to the Gopalganj Meteorological Office, the highest temperature recorded in the district this month was 37.6°C.
“The heat will continue a few weeks into next month with a slight dip in temperature for a few days in between. The district has yet to record any rainfall during the ongoing dry spell,” said Abu Sufian, an official at the district met office.
Arbindu Kumar Roy, deputy director of the Department of Agricultural Extension in Gopalganj, said: “The target for jute cultivation has been set at 25,440 hectares of land in the district this year. And so far, farmers have planted jute on 19,214 hectares and jute saplings have started appearing.”
Hazrat Ali, a jute farmer from Jalalabad union of Sadar upazila, said: “My jute saplings are drying up due to the scorching heat as drought plagues the land. I can't even clear out the weeds in this weather.”
Wahid Mina, a farmer from Ratail union of Kashiani upazila, said: “There was no rain during the jute planting season. So I had to irrigate the land frequently after sowing. Even then the jute saplings aren’t appearing. Meanwhile, the cost of production rises with frequent irrigation.”
Miraj Sheikh, a jute farmer from Muksudpur upazila, said it cost Tk500 to irrigate one bigha of land once.
Kashiani Upazila Agriculture Officer Sanjay Kumar said: “Many farmers are irrigating their jute lands in the absence of rainfall. It is doing more harm than good.”
He has instructed farmers to irrigate their jute lands after sundown and in case of pest attacks he has advised them to use pesticides.
“If the jute plants can be protected from the heat, the production will be satisfactory,” said the official.