The sand has also damaged the existing crops, inflicting financial losses on the farmers
With sand covering hundreds of acres of arable land since the recent floods in Kurigram, farmers say surviving the coming months will be very tough if the government does not do anything.
According to the Department of Agricultural Extension, Kurigram, some 17,000 hectares were damaged by the prolonged floods affecting about 135,000 farmers. Officially, the amount of loss in agriculture is Tk 140 crore.
Affected farmers claimed that at least 1,000 hectares of arable land has been covered by sand. At Sardob village, sand accumulated on vast swathes of land after an alternative dam broke in mid-July.
Farmer Delwar Hossain, a resident of Char Sardob of Sadar upazila, said that his three-bigha plot became uncultivable after the floodwater receded and sand accumulated on his land.
“I planned to plant Aman this time like previous years after the floodwaters receded,” he said. “But the land was uncultivable.”
Delwar said he was worried about the coming months when his family may have to starve.
The sand has also damaged the existing crops, inflicting financial losses on the farmers.
Lutfar Rahman, a farmer from Holokhana village, said that they had a good production of Aman last year. “We fear that nothing can be grown on these lands for the next few years,” he said.
Affected farmers plan to go for crops like sweet pumpkins, sweet potatoes, and maize suitable for cultivation in sandy lands but they lack capital.
Rabia Begum, a sharecropper, said plenty of irrigation is needed to grow crops on the land filled with sand and their current financial conditions make it impossible for them to bear the cost.
Initially, the coronavirus pandemic took away work but then came the floods which damaged the crops, land and houses, forcing people to spend their savings.
In the post-flood period, 1,200 farmers have been given seeds and fertilisers to cultivate the Maskalai variety of lentil on one bigha of land.
Besides, about 7,000 farmers have been given Aman saplings while 10,000 received vegetable seeds, but no allocation has been made for cultivating crops on lands filled by sand.
Sadar Upazila Agriculture Officer Mohammad Zakir Hossain said they had informed the authorities about the situation. “If any allocation is made, we’ll distribute it among the affected farmers,” he said.