The ongoing severe cold coupled with dense fog affects Boro seedbeds, turning the tender saplings yellowish at places, especially in Haor areas of Sylhet division.
“Dense fog and cloudy sky featured most of the days since the mercury saw a deep fall in the region at the end of December last. The Met office recorded 6.3 to 12 degrees Celsius temperature during the last three weeks,” Anisur Rahman, observer of Sreemangal Met office.
“Cold and fog damaged two-week-old Boro seedlings on my 34 decimals of land. The young plants have turned yellowish due to lack of sunlight for several days,” said Monirul Islam, 34, a farmer at Bhukmoil village in Hakaluki Haor area of Kulaura upazila in Moulvibazar.
“It will not be possible for me to cultivate Boro paddy this year if seedlings on my 20 decimals of land are damaged,” said another farmer Mosabbir Ali, also a friend of Monirul.
“If the cold and fog continues for more several days, we will face seedling crisis during the ongoing Boro transplantation season,” said Sundar Mia, 45, a farmer at Tetoli in a haor area of Barlekha upazila in Moulvibazar.
Jasim Uddin, agriculture officer of the district’s Juri upazila, said severe cold and fog affected Boro seedbeds in some areas but seedlings would not be damaged much if the weather improves shortly.
“We suggest the farmers to water seedbeds at night, cover them with polythene sheets and use proper fertiliser to save seedlings from the effects of cold and fog. Our officials are visiting the fields and sharing views with farmers on ways to save the seedlings,” he said.
“I purchased 10 kg of seeds for double the usual price to make a seedbed. I have covered the seedbed with polythene sheets but it is not helping much to prevent damage due to lack of sunlight for days,” said Monem Mia at Sreepur of Tanguar Haor in Sunamganj’s Tahirpur upazila.
If Boro cultivation is delayed, the crop yield will fall, he said.
Small plants like Boro seedlings will be harmed if foggy weather prevails for more days, said Kazi Lutful Bari, deputy director of the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) in Moulvibazar.
This season the DAE set a target of preparing Boro seedbeds on 22,940 hectares of land in four districts of the division, of it 14,207 hectares is in haor areas, said Sree Nibash Debnath, additional director of DAE in Sylhet divisional office.
“The target of Boro cultivation in the region is 4.73 lakh hectares. The DAE is yet to estimate the extent of damage to seedbeds,” he said.