Lack of rain, load-shedding hamper Aman plantation in Meherpur
MEHERPUR, Aug 10: Transplanted Aman (T-Aman) sapling plantation in the district, mostly in Gangni Upazila, is facing setback due to lack of rainfall and repeated load-shedding. A draught-like-situation is prevailing in the district.
On an average, load-shedding is taking place for seven to eight hours per day in the district.
The diesel price has increased because of load-shedding. So, irrigation is hampered, and T-Aman fields are drying up.
Already planted T-Aman fields are also facing irrigation problem. It is apprehended, the target of planting saplings will not be achieved. But the agriculture department said, there is still time of sapling plantation, if rain starts. Then meeting the target will not be a problem.
According to sources at the Gangni Upazila Agriculture office, the target of T-Aman plantation has been set at 13,340 hectares (ha) of land this season in the upazila; farmers have taken necessary preparation for sapling plantation.
Already farmers have prepared seedbeds on 680 ha. Officially, 2,275 farmers were given seed and fertilizer incentives. This is the proper time of T-Aman plantation. So far, farmers have managed to plant saplings on 10 per cent of the land.
A visit found most lands unplanted. T-Aman seedbeds have started turning yellowish because of hot sun. In some areas, sapling plantation was seen taking place through irrigation by shallow machines at an additional cost. As most pumps are run by electricity irrigating the already planted fields is also hampered due to load-shedding.
While talking with this correspondent of The Daily Observer, farmers said, T-Aman saplings are usually planted in the district from mid-Ashar to Shraban; due to lack of rain this time, suffering is going high with the plantation; usually 25-30 day old saplings are planted; but many farmers could not plant even their one and a half-month old saplings; many farmers are managing sapling planting by irrigating their fields through diesel-run pumps but paying extra money.
Also extra cost is counted for high fertiliser. Fertiliser price has increased by Tk 5 to 10 per kg.
Shariful Islam Baki, a farmer of Sahrabaria, said, he has prepared 150 bighas to plant saplings. But he has planted only 50 bighas.
Now seedbeds are about to get damaged. A crisis of saplings is likely. If load-shedding is not reduced, it will not be possible to plant saplings in all lands.
Zakir Hossain, a farmer of Raipur Village, said, this time, he has prepared a seedbed to plant his 15 bighas. His saplings have been of one month old. But there is still jute in his land. Due to the lack of water, jute remained in the field. His saplings are dying.
Deputy General Manager Abul Kashem of Gangni Zonal Office of Palli Biddyut Samity said, half of the electricity demand is available in the upazila. Electricity is being supplied to the feeders accordingly. This is a national problem so nothing can be done locally, he added.
Gangni Upazila Agriculture Officer and Agriculturist Loveli Khatun said, farmers have been advised to cultivate improved varieties of rice this season. Long and medium duration varieties can be planted by August 15 while short duration ones by August 25. Due to want of rain and load-shedding, the T-Aman farming has been hampered. If there is rainfall and the load-shedding is reduced, it will still not hinder achieving the plantation target.
Legal action will be taken against the fertiliser and diesel sellers regarding the increased price of fertiliser and diesel, she maintained.