All acted accordingly and a substantial volume of paddy has already been harvested in the districts
A hectic effort is now underway to save the Boro crop in the peak rice harvesting season amidst weather forecast of an early flash flood in some parts of Bangladesh’s haor areas.
With only a fifth of the Boro paddy harvested till April 20, weathermen informed the government yesterday that the Indian states of Assam, Meghalaya, and Tripura are expected to experience heavy downpours over the next 48 hours, thereby causing floods in some northeastern regions of Bangladesh.
Sources at the Ministry of Agriculture and the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) told Dhaka Tribune yesterday that upon receipt of the flash flood forecast, officials have been instructed to further assist haor farmers in quickly reaping the standing Boro crop in the fields.
They said, during the prolonged nationwide shutdown, the administration has helped farm labourers from many northern districts with transport to move to seven Haor districts for harvesting rice. Buildings of several thousand educational institutions have also been kept open to temporarily accommodate the farm labourers.
Quoting the latest forecasts from met offices of both Bangladesh and India, the Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre (FFWC) of the Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB) yesterday warned of possible flash floods in northeastern Bangladesh due to heavy downpours in some parts of the Indian states of Assam, Meghalaya, and Tripura over the next two days.
Md Arifuzzaman Bhuiyan, a BWDB executive engineer, who regularly keeps track of flash floods and rains, told this correspondent yesterday: “We’ve forewarned the concerned government departments about the possibilities of heavy rainfall-induced flash floods sometime in late April.”
“It appears it’s imminent now. All acted accordingly and a substantial volume of paddy has already been harvested in the districts, which may experience some inundation owing to heavy rainfall in Assam, Meghalaya, and Tripura,” explained Bhuiyan.
Meanwhile, the river ports have been asked to hoist cautionary signal number one on Wednesday as rain or thunderstorms are likely in some regions of the country.
The regions are Rajshahi, Rangpur, Pabna, Bogura, Tangail, Dhaka, Mymensingh, Faridpur, Khulna, Barishal, Patuakhali, Noakhali, Cumilla, Chattogram, and Sylhet.
Rice farmers in seven haor districts – Kishoreganj, Netrakona, Sunamganj, Moulvibazar, Habiganj, Sylhet and Brahmanbaria – are worried about completing the Boro harvesting before the floods.
Government on its part, has meanwhile provided haor farmers with 23 additional reapers and 128 more combined harvesters under its farm machinery subsidy scheme. And these freshly deployed harvesting machines joined an existing fleet of 383 reapers and 156 combined harvesters to help haor farmers reap the Boro crop quickly.
The Agriculture Ministry confirmed Dhaka Tribune that the machines, apart from some 261,000 farm labourers, have joined forces to harvest Boro in the seven haor districts, which account for a fifth of the 20 million tons of Boro expected to be harvested across the country this year. Of the three rice seasons – Aus, Aman and Boro – the irrigated rice Boro contributes over 55 percent of Bangladesh’s yearly output of the staple.
DAE sources told Dhaka Tribune that starting the second week of April, haor farmers have already managed to harvest rice from one lakh hectares of land till April 20. Boro acreage in seven haor districts has been nearly 4.5 lakh hectares this year.