Flood breaks backbones of farmers in Rajshahi
Published : Saturday, 10 October, 2020 at 12:00 AM Count : 162
RAJSHAHI, Oct 9: This year's flood has broken the backbones of the farmers of greater Rajshahi region.
Vast croplands in many areas are still under water. Flood for three to four times hit these lands severely.
Official sources said efforts are on to recoup the damages by giving incentives to the farmers. But, farmers said recovering from the damages is quite impossible.
According to the latest data available with the Rajshahi Regional Agriculture Department, farmers cultivated various crops in 4,35,371 hectares of land this year. Of these, Transplanted Aman (T-Aman) was cultivated in 3,96,225 ha, vegetables in 7,431 ha, black gram pulse in 26,961, and betel leaf in 4,754 ha.
Despite repeated floods, farmers tried to stand again, but untimely flood and incessant rain barred their attempt.
Till Wednesday last, 14,549 ha of croplands were under water. Of these, T-Aman included 11,485 ha and vegetables 240 ha. Besides, 2,805 ha of black gram pulse and 19 ha of betel leaf lands were submerged by the latest flood.
As per the agriculture department, Naogaon District of the region was most hit where 6,727 ha croplands were submerged. Besides, 3,715 ha in Chapainawabganj, 3,561 ha in Natore, and 546 ha in Rajshahi districts have also been inundated. If the flood water recedes late, the croplands will be entirely damaged.
Taking lease of one bigha land, a grower Ashraf Ali of Bakshimoil area in Mohanpur Upazila of Rajshahi raised a betel leaf orchard. He had been growing betel leaf for a long time. He loaned Tk 50,000 from two NGOs. But the untimely flood submerged his betel leaf orchard. The orchard was submerged earlier by the first-time flood. Then he managed the situation somehow. But this time he could not manage it. The same situation occurred to hundreds of other such growers of the area.
Ashraf Ali said, excluding all costs, he earns about Tk 1.5 lakh from one-bigha of betel leaf orchard. He runs his family and maintains his children's education by this. He has been paying loan instalments accordingly. But the untimely flood has thrown him into misery.
Economist Professor Dr Ilias Hossen of Rajshahi University's Economics Department said about 60 per cent farmers of the country are small and marginal. The government should give incentives to them so that they can combat this adverse situation.
He also said, to rescue farmers from the moneylenders' evil net, the government must take measures unless the farmers will not be solvent.
Deputy Director (DD) of the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) in Natore Subrata Kumar Sarker said they gave incentives to the farmers so that they can recover from the effects of the first and the second time floods. But, floods for the third and the fourth time submerged their croplands. If flood water recedes within next few days, then 20 per cent crops can be saved. Otherwise, all will be lost.
Naogaon DAE DD Shamsul Wadud said, for various reasons, flood lingered this year. Naogaon was hit by the fourth time flood this year. Heavy rainfall caused this. Actually, there is no technology to protect farmers from this calamity. If the flood water recedes, farmers may recover a little bit by cultivating high yielding Robi crops and vegetables.
He added that by making list, the victim farmers will be brought under incentives.
Rajshahi Regional Agriculture Department sources said, the first-time flood damaged crops of 7,398.64 ha of lands in Rajshahi, Naogaon, Natore and Chapainawabganj districts. The productions of 19,995.75 tonnes were hampered. The estimated loss was worth Tk 76,29,86,000. A total of 60,898 farmers were affected.
The sources also said, the second-time flood affected 80,915 farmers with crop damages in 8,104.90 ha of lands and losses worth Tk 102,57,61,000.