Labour crisis, pest attack worry jute growers | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, June 01, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:52 AM, June 01, 2020

Labour crisis, pest attack worry jute growers

Around 82, 976 hectares of land in Faridpur have been brought under jute cultivation this year

caterpillar worries jute farmers in the district. In addition, shortage of labourers adds to the woe of the growers during the pandemic.

Kartik Chandra Chakraboty, deputy director of Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) in Faridpur, said 82, 976 hectares of land in nine upazilas have been brought under jute cultivation this year, compared to 82, 695 hectares last year.

"We are expecting bumper production this year. Faridpur is one of the main jute growing districts in Bangladesh," he said.

Growers in Sadar, Nagarkanda and Saltha upazilas said jute plants have grown well due to timely rain but two kinds of pest --leaf caterpillar and hairy caterpillar-- attacked the plants. The caterpillars eat the green leaves of the jute plants.

They further said it is the proper time to weed out the jute field but they cannot do it due to shortage of labourers. The labourers cannot come to the district from other parts of the country due to the ongoing countrywide shutdown to curb spread of coronavirus.

Mafiqul Islam of Khoar village in Saltah upazila said he has cultivated jute on two acres of land, but pest attacked the field recently.

"Now it needs some labourers to spray pesticide on the field but I cannot do it due to shortage of labourers during the pandemic," he said.

Another farmer Md Nurnabi of Kachail village in Nagarkanda upazila said jute has grown well this year, but if they do not prevent pest attack, they may not get expected production.

The DAE official said they are giving all kind of advice to the farmers to prevent the pest attack. It is true that jute growers are suffering from crisis of farm labourers due to coronavirus outbreak.

They will take immediate steps to resolve the problem, said the official.

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