Cyclone Amphan leaves bitter taste for litchi farmers | The Daily Star
10:50 PM, May 22, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:10 PM, May 22, 2020

Cyclone Amphan leaves bitter taste for litchi farmers

Causes over Tk 150cr in damages in Pabna litchi orchards

The super cyclone Amphan did not only take lives, destroy homes and uproot trees.

It also crushed the last strands of hope for many amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

"I planted litchi trees in five bighas of my land and expected to earn Tk 2 to 2.5 lakh this year. I planned to sell the crop after Eid-ul-Fitr, but the storm has destroyed my dream," said Ramjan Ali, litchi grower of Maniknagar village in Pabna's Ishwardi upazila.

The aftermath of cyclone Amphan has served the second blow to litchi farmers who had been relying on their crops to recover from the ongoing Covid-19 fallout.

The district agriculture extension office in Pabna today said 22 to 25 percent of litchis -- worth around Tk 154 crore -- had been damaged by the strong winds whipped up by cyclone Amphan.

Farmers, on the other hand, say the damage is worth around Tk 200 crore and put the losses to around 30 percent of the district's total annual production, reports our Pabna correspondent.

"I have a litchi orchard in my village and also bought two other orchards [120 to 125 trees] this year spending Tk 17 lakh. I expected to earn Tk 18 to 20 lakh. But Amphan uprooted 25 to 30 trees and damaged many fruits," said Sheikh Mehedi Hasan, a litchi trader and grower in Pabna's Ishwardi upazila.

He said the storm damaged at least 50 percent litchis of his three orchards, leaving him with a loss of Tk 8 to 10 lakh.  

Mehedi said it is hard for him to get return of Tk 7 to 8 lakh from his orchards although he invested Tk 17 lakh this year.

Visiting Awtapara, Shahapur in Ishward upazila, Shanikdiar in Pabna Sadar upazila and few other litchi growing areas of the district, this correspondent found that most of the litchi trees had been uprooted. Their fruits lay strewn about.

Talking to our Pabna correspondent, Azhar Ali, an officer at the district agricultural extension department, said the total loss is being calculated.

Almost 10 to 15 percent litchi production may have been destroyed in the storm, the officer said.

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