Government support is helping thousands of farmers affected by last month’s monsoon floods in the northern and northeastern districts of Bangladesh to restart cultivating the land.
The government has already initiated a rehabilitation programme worth over Tk90 lakh for across the flood-hit districts, while an incentive programme worth Tk58.7 crore is under process to help the farmers, the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) said.
At least 104,949 hectares of cropland were completely devastated by the floods in August while 498,660 hectares of cropland were partially damaged, pushing the farmers on to the breadline.
The farmers, however, have returned and already started cultivating for next season with support from governmental and non-governmental organisations, local sources said.
Motiar Rahman, a farmer from Auliapur village under Sadar Upazila in Dinajpur district, said he had sown paddy plantlets on his land using expensive seedbeds.
“The production cost will increase as the cost of agricultural labour, fertiliser and pesticides have all increased,” he said.
According to the Dinajpur DAE, a target of 253,687 hectares of land has been set in the current season while officials claimed the target of this year will not be hindered despite the floods.
A total of 25,456 hectares of land of Aman rice saplings in 13 upazilas of Dinajpur were submerged by floodwater while around 157,000 farmers have been affected by the floods in the district, the officials said.
Dinajpur DAE Deputy Director Golam Mostafa said the government has provided seedbeds to farmers and there was no cropland left uncultivated.
“19,000 farmers in the district have been given incentive support while fertilisers and seeds of wheat, maize, mustard and lentil are being given for free for next season’s cultivation,” he told the Dhaka Tribune.
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The partially affected farmers, however, have demanded the continuation of government assistance until the upcoming harvest.
Nilphamari district’s Deputy Commissioner Md Khaled Rahim said the authority has already provided Binashail paddy sapling (a variety of Aman) to farmers with the assistance of Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation (BADC).
“The farm managers in each upazila have set examples by providing Aman saplings in their own farms,” he said.
Similar initiatives have been undertaken in other flood-hit districts across the country.
Creating seedbeds, the DAE has distributed paddy saplings among 7,780 cultivators in different districts while 1,120 farmers were each given 5kg of paddy seeds (Aman) in seven districts.
The DAE has also created 1,064 floating seedbeds from which saplings were distributed among 355 cultivators, the officials said.
“The government has taken the initiative to provide seeds and fertilisers among 541,201 cultivators for the winter season,” DAE Field Service Wing Additional Director Alhaz Uddin Ahmed told the Dhaka Tribune.
“Around 600,000 farmers in Haor region will be given seeds and fertilisers and Tk1,000 each to cultivate Boro paddy. Another proposal of Tk20 crore is underway to help flood-hit farmers across the country.”