Cultivators in Madan, Mohanganj, Khaliajuri, and nearby upazilas said they could not make seed-beds due to excessive rainfall brought by cyclone Bulbul that hit the area recently
Farmers in the haor regions of Netrokona district are deeply concerned about Boro paddy farming as the water level in haors are not receding as expected.
Cultivators in Madan, Mohanganj, Khaliajuri, and nearby upazilas said they could not make seed-beds due to excessive rainfall brought by cyclone Bulbul that hit the area recently.
Boro farming will be delayed if we cannot prepare seed-beds in due time, said the farmers, adding that the delay is more likely to increase the chances of crop damage in early floods.
However, Agriculture Department officials said they have advised farmers to cultivate early-season paddy varieties in these regions to avoid the damage.
According to district Agriculture Department, a total of 11,875 hectares of land in 10 upazila of Netrokona has been targeted for preparing Boro seed-beds this year.
According to the Department of Agricultural Extension, the target for Boro production has been set at 7,45,362 metric tons from 1,83,870 hectares of land in Netrokona.
Sanjib Dey, a farmer from Khaliajuri upazila, said: "It seems that sowing Boro saplings will be late this year, which will minimize the chances of good yields. Winter season begins in two weeks, and it will be too late if we have to start the cultivation process then."
"We won't get healthy saplings in winter, which won't bring robust outcome eventually. Besides, it will take more time for the Boro plants to become mature, and so the crops might get damaged in early flood," he added.
Expressing similar concerns, Sukomol Sarker, a farmer from Kadirpur village in Khaliajuri upazila, said: "Crops get damaged by untimely floods almost every year. Since, the preparation of seed-beds is being delayed this year, it will significantly increase the chance of crop damage."
Sadhan Chowdhury from Tatianagaon village of the same upazila said: "There are some areas, surrounded by rivers, which are relatively high ground. However, some areas are low lying and it is necessary to dredge some portions of rivers in these areas, starting from the estuary of Meghna river towards northern direction. It is not possible to save crops from flood water without river dredging."
Agricultural expert and people concerned in haor regions said water is not receding due to a couple of reasons including lack of river dredging, making unplanned embankments in different places of haor regions.
Habibur Rahman, deputy director of Agriculture Department in Netrokona, said: "We are advising farmers to cultivate early season paddy varieties in haor region. For example, cultivating BRRI dhan 28 reduces the risk of crop damage in early flood. However, farmers have started planting seeds after preparing seed-beds in some areas, and hopefully others will be able to do the same within a week."
Netrokona Deputy Commissioner Moinul Islam said: "We are encouraging farmers to cultivate early season paddy varieties that are high-yielding and grows up in a short time."