A drought-like prevailing for the last couple of weeks hits Aman paddy farming in different areas.
In many places of Gaibandha, cracks developed in the dried up crop fields and many farmers, especially poor and marginal ones, could not transplant seedlings as they cannot afford the irrigation cost, reports our correspondent.
High prices of Aman seedlings is also discouraging many farmers to cultivate Aman while growth of freshly transplanted seedlings is hampered due to lack of water.
Solvent farmers are using own power pumps to irrigate Aman fields, but others have to pay Tk 100 to 150 per hour for irrigation, which adds to the production cost.
“I planted pricey Aman seedlings on five bighas of land, for which I had to borrow money from different sources. Now I have to count additional cost for irrigation to save the seedlings but water in field dries quickly due to scorching heat of the sun,” said Wahedul Islam of Sonaidanga village in Gobindaganj upazila.
Sirajul, another farmer of the same village, said he cultivated Aman on three bighas of land after buying seedlings at a high price.
“Due to the high cost of Aman cultivation that includes irrigation, I have kept two bighas of land unused. It will be difficult to recover the production cost of Aman.”
Many poor farmers in seven upazilas of the district have already given up hope for Aman cultivation this season.
SM Ferdous, deputy director of the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) in Gaibandha, said, “The last flood damaged seedbeds on 2,881 hectares of land and transplanted Aman seedlings on 7,520 hectares of land. And so, it is difficult to achieve the target of cultivation on 1.23 lakh and 68 hectares of land.”
The department has started distribution of Aman seedlings among the flood-hit farmers free of cost for one bigha each to increase areas of Aman cultivation this season, he added.
Our Bagerhat Correspondent reports: Aman farming in Narail faces a setback due to lack of inadequate rainfall this season.
This year farmers in the district have cultivated Aman on 37,260 hectares of land against the official target of 37,010 hectares, said sources at the DAE.
During a recent visit to Chasra Dakkhin Para of Narail Sadar upazila, this correspondent saw cracks in dried up Aman fields while many farmers are planting seedlings with irrigation from shallow pumps.
“I have cultivated Aman on 10 bighas of land. Like me, many farmers prepared their lands for cultivation with water drawn by shallow or deep power pump. I will have to spend at least Tk 15,000 for per bigha of land till the harvest as irrigation adds to the cost,” said Ali Haider Litu, 45, a farmer of Chasra Dakkhin Para.
“Many others, mostly marginal farmers and sharecroppers, are still waiting for rainwater. It would be helpful if the government provides shallow machines and pipes for the farmers,” said Ali, also president of 130 farmer groups in Narail Sadar upazila.
Each group comprising 30 members is called Common Interest Group (CIG).
Raju Ahmed of the area said, “I have cultivated Aman on about two bighas of land after reaping jute in Bangla month of Bhadra. But this year the production cost will increase as we did not get enough rain. It would be helpful if we get at least a shallow machine and pipe for every group.”
Chinmoy Roy, deputy director of Narail DAE, said, “This year our target of Aman cultivation area has exceeded but lack of rain hits the farm ers. The ministry concerned has taken a Tk 1000-crore mega project for buying agricultural machinery including power pumps for farmers across the country. We will distribute the items for a token money to 130 CIG units of farmers.”