The Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) fears the destruction of paddy seedlings, potato plants and other winter crops with the onset of untimely rain and continuous cold waves
Prolonged cold spell, dense fog, and rain have damaged a large portion of Boro seedlings, winter crops in seedbeds and many more are facing damage, causing worries for the farmers in Nilphamari, Barisal, Jamalpur and Bhola.
The Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) fears the destruction of paddy seedlings, potato plants and other winter crops with the onset of untimely rain and continuous cold waves.
In Nilphamari the cold weather, rain and fog are making it impossible for crops to grow.
On Sunday, the lowest temperature was 15.8 degree Celsius and highest was 23.5 degrees. The temperature dropped even lower on Saturday. Md Lokman Hakim, assistant officer Bangladesh Meteorological Department confirmed the matter.
From the DAE it was learned that Boro seedlings are withering away and potatoes are being affected with diseases like Late Blight and Early Blight.
Nikhil Chandra Biswas, deputy director at the district DAE said: "We are advising the farmers on how to combat the diseases but if the cold weather continues, crops like paddy and potato are susceptible to more damage."
Vegetables and paddy are also being severely damaged by untimely rain and cold waves in Barisal district.
Toufiqul Alam, deputy director of the DAE, Barisal office, said farmers have already harvested almost 85 percent of Aman paddy, vegetables and pulses that were cultivated. Remaining 10 to 15 percent paddy and vegetables could be affected by the recent adverse weather.
Paddy plants fell flat on the ground and crop-fields became waterlogged due to rain along with gusty winds that continued for 48 hours on Saturday in Barisal district, the DAE sources said.
He also informed that farmers have been asked to drain standing water from crop lands. Paddy of the fallen plants will continue to grow into the ripening stage if the crop land does not remain underwater for long.
Boro seedlings are being destroyed due to unabating rain and fog in the last few days in Jamalpur.
However, the DAE opines that if the cold wave does not continue, the Boro seedlings are not under severe risk.
After visiting the Koidula Shahbajpur, Pokkhimari villages in Titpalla union, Fatehpur, Tarakandi, Gobindpur villages in Sreepur union under Jamalpur sadar upazila it was observed that the seedlings have been affected due to severe cold and fog.
Barek Mandal and Kader Mia, farmers of Pokkhimara area in Titpalla union said the Boro seedlings are drying up and going brown due to severe cold weather.
Aminul Islam, deputy director of the DAE said: "Though Boro seedlings have been destroyed in some areas, majority amount is still intact. Whether they will remain unharmed depends on the weather."
In Bhola potato and other winter crop-fields have been submerged in many areas due to three days of uninterrupted rainfall.
Local farmers Fazlu, Alamgir, Hasmi, Imam and Hossain Mia informed that despite cultivating potatoes by taking loans from various NGOs, like the previous two years the cultivation has been hampered by water logging due to rainfall.
Rajob Ali and Nurul Islam of ward no. 5 said that they have been cultivating potatoes for the last three years and have incurred so much loss this year, yet no one from the DAE ever visited the area.
When the Deputy Director of the DAE, Gautam Chandra Kundu was asked if he went to the area to help the farmers he said yes, but upon questioning further he said he lives in the sadar area so did not go to the fields yet.
Our correspondents Taiyeb Ali Sarker, Nilphamari; Anisur Rahman Swapan, Barisal; Bishwajit Deb, Jamalpur; and Ahad Chowdhury Tuhin, Bhola contributed to the report.