High value T-Aman paddy planted this season is under threat in the seven upazilas of Gaibandha district due to a sudden change in weather conditions in the area.
While in some areas farmers have successfully planted the seedlings, many farmers said the seedlings they planted are ready to be transplanted but they have been hampered by the lack of rainfall, which they need to replant the paddy to ensure a good harvest.
Farmers in the district are worried their crops will fail as without rain the fields will dry quickly and ruin the harvest. In some places the soil has already dried and cracked.
The Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) set this year’s target for rice cultivated from T-Aman at 4,64,000tonnes harvested on approximately 123,000hectares of land.
Farmers who can afford shallow irrigation pumps are irrigating the land to ensure their crops do not fail. However, many farmers have complained that frequent power cuts are not helping their Efforts to save the harvest from ruin.
A farmer from Bagda of Gobindaganj upazila Masud Rana said his seedlings are dying from lack of sufficient water. He said most farmers hire the irrigation pumps and must wait for their turn to use the pumps and water their crops, often leading to misunderstandings and arguments between them.
To add to farmers’ woes there has also been reports of pest attacks and crop disease in the area, jeopardising the chances of a good harvest.
Jahedul Haque from Barobaldia village in Sadar upazila said irrigation costs go up significantly if farmers want to use diesel to run the pumps since power supply is unreliable and erratic. He said with the additional expenses, eventually most farmers would not be able to recoup the losses incurred even if they do manage to harvest the paddy.
Another farmer from the village, Khorshed Alam, said if there is no rain and power cuts continue then they won’t be able to meet the target fixed by the DAE for T-Aman cultivation this season. He fears there is serious risks of the harvest failing, which may lead to food shortages in the district.
Farmers in the district are seeking government help urgently to provide steady supply of power to ensure the expected harvest can be cultivated, and their fears are put to rest.
Earlier the DAE and local farmers had been expecting a bumper crop as favourable conditions prevailed to guarantee a good harvest.