Over the last couple of months, mango buds are falling off trees in mango orchards across Chapainawabganj -- which is considered the mango capital of the country.
Worried farmers speculate that a drought-like situation due to no rain during the period is causing the damage.
Farmer Sadikul Islam from Mistripara in Chapainawabganj town leased over 100 mango trees on 14 bighas of land in Chalk Alampur village of Sadar upazila.
He said the mango farmers had been expecting a good harvest this year as almost all mango trees in their orchards produced massive number of buds when in full bloom. But with so many of the buds falling off, they have been worrying about incurring heavy losses this year.
As a last resort, the farmers have started to irrigate their orchards, he added.
Another mango farmer, Aminul Islam, from Alinagar area in the town, said he spent Tk 18.5 lakh to lease an orchard on 40 bighas in Jonakipara of Nachole upazila.
He said he was also worried about suffering massive losses as a good number of mango buds already died and fell off the trees in his orchard.
The lack of rain is drying up the mango trees, resulting in the fall of so many mango buds, he also said.
Most mango growers in the area said rain in the month of March is crucial for a good production of mango, but the entire month had no rain this year.
During a recent visit to mango orchards in Ganka, Sarkarpara and Court Bagan areas in the town and Dhumi Hayatpur and Chalk Alampur villages in Sadar upazila, this correspondent found a huge number of fallen mango buds that were blanketing the ground in the orchards and children were roaming around to collect the larger of the buds for consumption.
Contacted, Muhammad Nazrul Islam, deputy director of Department of Agricultural Extension, said this year they did not record any rain in the district. Whereas, last year they recorded 17 millimetres of rainfall in January, 7 mm in February, 29 mm in March and 72 mm in April.
About 10 to 12 percent of the mango buds fall off naturally, but the percentage has been higher this year due to the lack of rain.
Advising farmers to ensure adequate irrigation in the orchards, the official also said they expect a total mango production of 2.5 lakh tonnes in the district this year.
As much as 95 percent of mango trees -- in commercial orchards and homes -- bloomed in Chapainawabganj this year. The district had mango orchards on 34,871 hectares last year, when production reached 2.50 lakh tonnes.