Around 1,000 ultra-poor women are engaged in collecting paddy residues from the Boro fields submerged in rainwater under Ujirpur upazila of the district. These women are doing the job to support their families in the crisis time of the Covid-19 pandemic.
A local agriculture officer said in the Bengali month of Baishakh and Jyestha, farmers in the low-lying area harvested ripe Boro paddy from thousands of acres of land. Plants grow again from roots of the harvested paddy submerged in rainwater during monsoon. These women then collect paddy residues from the submerged fields within a month as the general farmers usually do not collect such ripe paddy.
During a recent visit to Satla village in Ujirpur, this correspondent found that two women --Shova Bain, 30, and Kalpana Bain, 35, of the area—were collecting paddy residues from a harvested Boro field amid joy. The paddy land has literally turned into beel as rainwater submerged it.
More than 50 women in the village were found collecting the paddy residues from the land submerged under two to three feet rainwater.
Kalpana Bain said every day she harvested around 30 to 40 kg of ripe paddy on one bigha of submerged land from morning to noon during the rainy season and later put on the ground for drying in the sun.
Kalpana further said her husband is a marginal farmer. His income has decreased drastically due to coronavirus outbreak. In this situation, she is helping her husband to run the family by collecting the paddy.
She also added that they usually make chira out of the paddy and eat it every morning.
According to the local farmers, when thousands of acres of land in Satla union were submerged in rainwater, a group of low-income people collect paddy residues from the submerged harvested Boro fields.
Each person can collect about one maund of paddy from one bigha of submerged land every day, they said, adding that but this year a huge number of poor people are engaged in collecting paddy residues as the pandemic coronavirus has brought woe for them.
Upazila Agriculture Officer Zakir Hossain said such paddy is grown in the low-lying area following the harvest of Boro paddy. In Ujirpur, over 5,000 hectars of land have turned into beel during the rainy season and especially women are engaged in collecting paddy residues from the submerged land this time.
Md Aftabuddin, additional director of Department of Agricultural Extension in Barishal, said 1.25 lakh hectares of land in Barishal region have been brought under Boro cultivation this year.