KURIGRAM: Farmers in Kurigram, one of the worst-affected districts in this year’s floods, have been hit hard by drought after the water receded. Many of them planted transplanted Aman to overcome losses inflicted by flood but the fields are drying up and irrigation is costly.
Local farmers said many of them could not plant transplanted Aman due to a lack of saplings and water. Those, who have already planted Aman, are trying to protect the field by irrigating them. Many others who are planting Aman are irrigating their fields.The existing situation has forced many farmers to keep their fields fallow.
Apart from the current crisis, the low market price of paddy is also discouraging many farmers from cultivating Aman, they said.
Sources at the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) said 1,22,000 hectares of land was earmarked for the cultivation of hybrid, HYV (high-yielding variety) and local variety paddy during the current transplanted Aman season.
So far, the farmers have sowed Aman on 1,05,000 hectares – hybrid variety on 9,575 hectares, local variety on 12,470 hectares and HYV variety on 82,955 hectares, the DAE said.
In Naora village under Ulipur upazila’s Dhamsreni union, the correspondent found farmer Abul Kashem irrigating his land with a shallow machine. “I sowed transplanted Aman after the flood water receded. Now, I’ve to irrigate the field regularly due to the lack of rain,” he said.
Kashem was clearly frustrated. “I’m cultivating paddy only to ensure fodder for my cattle. The paddy price is low but at least I’ll have food for my livestock,” he said.Abdul Hye, a farmer from Sardarpara village in the upazila’s Doldolia union, said he cultivated BIRRI-48 (Bhadai) variety paddy on his field. “I waited for rain in vain and later decided to irrigate the land and sow the seed,” he added.
Bablu Ram Bormon of Narikelbari village in Ulipur echoed Hye.
Akkas Ali from the Pirmabud village in Chakirposhar union of Rajarhat upazila, said he decided not to cultivate paddy this season due to drought and low prices. “I gave three acres of my land for sharecropping instead,” he said.
Akkas said he sowed local variety Kataribhog paddy on 25 decimals. “I’m not sure whether I’ll be able to harvest the paddy due to drought,” he said.
The correspondent visited many areas in the district and found the familiar sight.
Dr Mostafizur Rahman, Deputy Director of DAE, said many seedbeds were damaged due to flood.
“A community seedbed has been made on 100 acres of land for supplying seed to the affected farmers,” he said. “We’re distributing them among 6,000 farmers.”