Late blight disease has badly affected sunflower fields at Fulgachh village in Lalmonirhat Sadar upazila, much to the worry of over a hundred farmers who cultivated the oilseed plants for the first time this year.
They used a total of 34 acres of land for the purpose, as Brac officials encouraged them to do so, saying that they would get at least 20 kg of sunflower seeds from each decimal of land and the NGO would purchase it at Tk 1500 per maund (a maund = 40 kg) from them, farmers said.
Brac also provided seeds free of cost to the framers and bore 50 percent of their fertiliser cost.
But now the growers are very upset as their sunflower fields are affected by late blight due to intense cold wave early this year.
"With support from Brac, I have cultivated sunflower on 14 decimals of land. But late blight has led to production setback. I am getting only six kg of sunflower seed from each decimal as nothing worked to cure the disease," said Nur Islam Nuru at Fulgachh village.
"I have cultivated sunflower on 20 decimals of land here, but I cannot expect even 40 percent production as the entire field has been affected by late blight. Now I am uncertain about the recovery of Tk 3500 spent for the purpose," said another farmer Ramzan Ali.
Sunflower production may fall 15 to 20 percent due to late blight caused by intense cold wave earlier this year, said Biplob Kumar Nath, regional manager of Agriculture and Food Security Programme of Brac.
He, however, claimed that sunflower farmers at Fulgachh village will get satisfactory returns as Brac will provide marketing facility to ensure fair prices of the oilseed.