Farmers lose crops, seedbeds | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, August 11, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:56 AM, August 11, 2020

Farmers lose crops, seedbeds

Devastated by floods, many fear they won’t be able to grow Aman

Tens of thousands of farmers across the country suffer a double blow due to the prolonged flood that has damaged matured crops as well as seedbeds on vast swathes of land.

Many farmers are fearing that they would not be able to cultivate Aman paddy in the upcoming months as most of their seedbeds have been destroyed.

Besides, those who started cultivation with loans have been plunged into further trouble as they are in no situation to repay the loans.  

Floods have damaged crops worth nearly Tk 350 crore till mid-July, said officials of the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE).

The latest estimation is yet to be made available.

Over 54 lakh people under 163 upazilas in 33 districts have been affected by floodwater, said a report of National Disaster Response Coordination Centre.

Our correspondents from different districts reported on the plight of flood-hit farmers.

In Manikganj, around 1, 76, 000 farmers have been affected as their crops on 31,577 hectares have been deluged, said local agriculture officers.

"We have incurred a loss of around Tk 4 lakh as papaya on 33 decimal, banana on 60 decimal and tree garden on 33 decimal lands have gone underwater. Moreover, three of our fish ponds have been washed away," said Solaiman Khan, a flood victim of Madhabpur village under Sadar upazila.

Contacted, district deputy commissioner SM Ferdaus said the affected farmers would be provided with seeds and other assistance to cover up their losses.

In Sirajganj, crops on around 22,650 hectares land in seven upazilas have been inundated, affecting over 2 lakhs farmers and causing a loss of around Tk 200 crore.

"I cultivated jute on 5 bighas of land. But all of my crops were washed away by the first phase of flood in early July. Later, I tried to prepare seedbeds for Aman but it was also damaged by the second phase of the flood," said Shafikul Islam, a flood-victim of Suvogachain village under Kazipur upazila

Local DAE officials said they were distributing cost-free seeds among farmers.

In Nilphamari, crops on around 1,500 acres of lands have been damaged by flood, causing immense sufferings to marginal farmers.

"I cultivated peanut on my 2.5 acres of lands. The peanuts were matured and were about to be harvested. But all of them were damaged by floodwater," said Shahidul Islam, a resident of Dakkhin Kharibari under Dimla upazila.

"I had to take loans for cultivating the peanuts. I thought I would repay the loans after selling the peanuts. But all have been destroyed. Now, I don't know how I will repay my loans," he added.

In Kurigram and Lalmonirhat, crops of around 4,500 hectares of land have been damaged by flood, affecting around 45,000 farmers.

In the north-eastern region, Aush paddy on around 3,000 hectares, vegetables on 56 hectares, and Aman seedbed on 116 hectares were destroyed in four districts -- Sylhet, Sunamganj, Moulvibazar and Habiganj.

With the support from the DAE, community seedbed was prepared on a total 3.99 acres of land in the division, said Debnath, additional director of the DAE in Sylhet division, adding that 680 units of floating seedbed were also prepared.

In Bogura, crops of over 6,434.1 hectares lands worth around Tk 74 crores have been damaged by flood, affecting around 50,000 farmers.

In Gaibandha, crops of 2,533 hectares lands worth of over Tk. 27.95 crore have been damaged by the recent flood in six upazilas, affecting some 30,000 farmers.

Local DAE officials said farmers would not be able to cultivate Aush and Aman Paddy in the upcoming season as seedbeds were destroyed. So, there might be a low production of paddies this year.

Our correspondents from Manikganj, Pabna, Nilphamari, Lalmonirhat, Bogura and Sylhet contributed to this report.

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