The farmers dreamt of harvesting paddy in bulk. Maybe after a while this dream of theirs will come true. But this year in the hot air of Chaitra, chita (a bug) has caught the Boro paddy crop of the farmers, turning their dreams into a nightmare. Agricultural experts say that if the temperature rises above 35 degrees Celsius, the rice flowers may dry out. In the last week of March, the highest temperature in the country rose to 39 degrees Celsius. Boro paddy was being damaged due to continuous heat flow during flowering. Very recently on April 4, due to hot winds blowing over the countryside, rice husks and leaves of many croplands have dried up. Many Boro farmers will have no paddy this time.
According to the Department of Agricultural Extension, about 48,000 hectares of Boro paddy has been affected in many areas by the heat wave. It is feared that 10 to 12 thousand hectares of paddy cropland may be completely destroyed. According to agricultural experts, this is the worst crop damage since 2007 due to the heat wave. In Netrokona's Haor area alone, it has been reported that Boro crops worth Tk 117 crore have been damaged. Crops in different parts of the country including Mymensingh, Sherpur, Kishoreganj, Rajshahi and Barguna have also been damaged. Thousands of farmers have lost their livelihood due to crop failure.Initiatives have to be taken to compensate the farmers by assessing the amount of damage and making a list of the actual victims and providing assistance accordingly. In case of low interest loans or financial incentives, it is necessary to make arrangements so that it reaches the affected farmers directly.
We also have to prepare now to deal with such a situation occurring again in the future. Experts recommend using special sprays to retain water in the soil to protect the leaves and flowers from heat shock. Farmers need to be made aware of this, so that they can cooperate in every possible way. For this, it is also important to ensure proper irrigation management in the croplands.
Abul Bashar Meraz, student, Department of Environmental Science, Bangladesh Agricultural University.