Speedup harvesting Boro paddy before
Now it is the severe cyclonic storm "Amphan" that appears to be looming large over the coastal region of the country. However, with the "Amphan" fast approaching our coastal belt , the Department of Agricultural Extension Office ( DAE ) has advised farmers in coastal districts to harvest all Boro paddy that have matured up to at least 80 percent matured.
The DAE advisory said there was a possibility of a storm with light to heavy rainfall from May 19 to May 21 in 25 districts, mainly on the coastal belt. We are in full agreement with this forecasting offered by the DAE. The stormy weather coupled with heavy rainfall, can potentially damage standing crops.
The cautionary warning comes as farmers have harvested 59 percent of Boro paddy cultivated on 47.54 lakh hectares this season. Moreover, Chattogram, Khulna and Barishal regions together account for 10 percent of the total acreage of Boro, the main crop that has roughly 55 percent share in the annual rice production estimated at 3.64 crore tonnes in 2018-19.
The point, however, it is not clear how much crop might get damaged by the cyclone, which may crossover the coastal belt in the early hours of Wednesday (May 20). And if the cyclone hits, it may cause a major loss of paddy, at least some 20-30 percent of the standing crop yield. Therefore, the focus on one hand should be to minimize losses while on the other, the farmers will have to maximize the limits of harvesting within the shortest span of time - challenging task indeed but not impossible.
We believe the farmers, even through collective measures, cannot maximise harvesting efforts by their own. The need of the minute is to engage volunteer groups consisting of teachers and students from various schools and colleges. On a broader scale, we feel it is time to engage respective communities to lend a helping hand to our farmers. Requesting farmers to harvest paddy quickly by using loud speakers is a good technique but it should be complimented with community radios as well.
The country is reeling from the adverse effects of a global pandemic - the economy has been hit hard and a further cyclonic hit would cripple the agriculture sector - if action is not taken with immediate effect.