When the entire country was in a festive mood to celebrate the Pohela Boishakh, the first day of Bangla New year, farmers in Moulvibazar were in no state to enjoy the yearly fiesta.
Mostly sharecroppers and based on Haor, they embraced the situation as a recent flash flood inundated over 17,000 hectares of paddy fields in the district.
Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) primarily estimated the damage to be around Tk200 crore. The government has allocated 100 tonnes of rice and Tk8 lakh for the affected people in seven upazilas.
Azad Mia, a farmer living near the Hakaluki Haor, said that he had failed to harvest Boro paddy in the last three years and feared the same fate this time around as well.
With the days going by, his frustration keeps spiralling as to how he would support his family in the coming days.
[caption id="attachment_58802" align="aligncenter" width="800"] Sharecroppers in Haor area are worried about repaying the loans
“How do we celebrate the day? We are busy thinking of recovering our losses and winning bread for our family,” said a disheartened Azad.
Most Haor farmers, who do not have their own land, are highly tensed about how to repay the loans taken from mohajons (wealthy persons who lend money on heavy interest rate), NGOs and banks.
Also Read: ‘Haor people facing food scarcity’
Farmer Manik Mia said that they were not only reeling from the losses, but worried about paying back their loan.
“I do not know how to manage the money,” he said with tears in his eyes.
Like Azad and Manik, there are hundreds of farmers passing their days amid growing agony and frustration as most of them lost their produce after spending up to Tk3,500 for Boro cultivation on each bigha (0.16 hectare) land.
Also Read: President visits flood-ravaged Haor areas
Many even had planted Boro paddy in 100 bighas of land hoping to get a profitable return after the harvest.
Boro was cultivated on around 53,000 hectares of land across the district, of which paddy fields covering 17,432 hectares were submerged, causing the havoc.
President Abdul Hamid, ministers and lawmakers have visited different Haor areas in the last two weeks, and admitted that food crisis was severe. Experts think the prices of rice varieties may go up due to the flash flood.
Also Read: Flash flood in the Haors may worsen rice price hike
DAE Deputy Director Md Shahjahan said that continuous downpour from March 31 was still taking its toll on the Boro harvest.
“The areas close to India are affected heavily,” he stated, adding that they would distribute the relief materials and money after assessing the loss of the farmers separately.