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Dhaka Tribune

Sugarcane farming in Satkhira sees a sharp fall

Farmers said sugarcane fields come under frequent attacks by various types of diseases and fungi due to climate change

Update : 11 Mar 2019, 09:46 PM

The farming of sugarcane in the district has declined by over 97% over the last two decades as farmers are losing their interest in farming of the cash crop mainly due to climate-induced reasons.

According to agriculturists, the farming of sugarcane and other crops is being badly affected since 2000 following several natural disasters.

Besides, the salinity level is on the rise in cropland hampering sugarcane, turmeric, pulse and sunflower cultivation in the district, they said.

Farmers said they are not opting for sugarcane farming these days as sugarcane fields come under frequent attacks by various types of diseases and fungi for the climate change impacts.

However, the local office of the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) said the sugarcane cultivation is on the decline not only for climate-induced reasons but also for the absence of any sugar mill in the district and that the crop needs a year for taking yield.

The DAE sources said sugarcane was used to be cultivated extensively in the district even two decades ago. In 1990, the crop was cultivated on 5,250 hectares of land while in 2000, 3,948 hectares of land was brought under farming and 140 hectares in 2010.

But the acreage came down to only 129 hectares in the current year, showing a 97.22% decline from that of 2000.

Arbinda Biswas, deputy director of Satkhira DAE, said climate change is not the only reason behind the fall in the sugarcane cultivation. “Farmers are losing their interest as there’s no sugarcane mill in the district. Besides, it takes one year to get yield. But farmers can cultivate three other crops in a year. For that they’re losing their interest.”

Mentioning that all the crops are attacked by diseases and insects, he said field-level agriculture officers give advice to farmers for remedies.

Elderly farmer Abdul Aziz of Datpur village in Talaupazila said around 70-80% farmers of the village used to cultivate sugarcane for long and he had also cultivated the crop for around 30-35 years. “But I have not been cultivating sugarcane for the last 10-12 years.”

After the flood in 2000, cyclones Sidr in 2007 and Aila in 2009, farmers are not getting expected yields like previous years following the increase in salinity level in soil, he said.

Sugarcane fields also come under attacks by different types of diseases and fungi, Aziz said, adding that he stopped cultivating sugarcane after having failed to get any remedy for it.

The farmer also said they need to wait for long one year after sowing the seeds to get the yield. “But in the mean time, we can produce other crops twice. That’s why farmers are losing their interest in sugarcane farming.”

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