Double blow for Kalapara farmers | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, June 23, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:52 AM, June 23, 2020

Double blow for Kalapara farmers

Cyclone Amphan also crushed the last strands of hope for the vegetable growers amid Covid-19 pandemic

The cyclone Amphan destroyed a number of households and vast tract of cropland. It also crushed the last strands of hope for many vegetable farmers in Kalapara upazila of the district amid ithe Covid-19 pandemic.

Zakir Hossain of Kumirmara village runs his five-member family by cultivating vegetables.

He cultivated various vegetables like cucurbit, wax gourd, green chilli and cucumber on two acres of leased land spending Tk 1.20 lakh this year but could not get expected price from selling the vegetables this season due to coronavirus outbreak, said Zakir, adding that it has happened as the fear over coronavirus pandemic has kept customers in the local market. 

A local agriculture officer said thousands of people work in different mega projects like Payra Power Plant and Payra seaport in the upazila but most of the workers are now on leave due to coronavirus outbreak.

The closure of many offices in the area has also a direct impact on the sale, said growers in the area.

"I expected to earn Tk 5 lakh this year, but the storm and the pandemic have destroyed my dream," said Zakir.

Veteran farmer Sultan Gazi of the village said he cultivated vegetables on 60 decimals of land this year but could not get desired prices from selling the produces. On the other hand, the cyclone Amphan destroyed his vegetable fields.

Other affected farmers--Aziz Hawlader, Salahuddin Gazi, Abdul Haq Gazi, Masud Gazi, Shahjahan Gazi and Monir Fakir--in the village faced the same fate.

Another farmer Abul Kalam Hawladar of nearby Majidpur village said his one acre of land was filled with crops, but he is now in utter despair as the vegetable field was fully damaged by the storm.

Vegetable farmers Nazrul Akon, Ahid Akon, Jalil Kazi, Ansar Kazi and Ishq Hawladar of Sonatala village have faced the similar situation.

Some of the affected vegetable farmers have begun cultivation once again but they are facing acute financial crisis in this regard.

Farmer Sultan Gazi said he again bought the seeds with borrowed money. They are yet to get any government help to overcome their loss.

Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) Officer in Kalapara Abdul Mannan said the cyclone has left a very bad impact on vegetable business and farmers amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

The government will help the affected farmers so that they can overcome the losses, said Mannan.

According to the agriculture extension office in the upazila, Kalapara dwellers consume 48 tonnes of vegetable every day. Of them, around 20,000 people who work in the mega projects need three tonnes of vegetable daily.

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