The dreams of thousands of farmers in the flood-hit areas of northern Bangladesh have been shattered as their crops and seedbeds washed away by floodwater.
In Lalmonirhat and Kurigram districts, around 40,000 farmers have been affected by the flood. Around 2,500 hectares of land have been damaged and about 20,000 hectares of arable land are still under floodwaters.
In Tangail, crops of over 11, 000 hectares of land have been inundated by the flood. As a result, around 27,000 farmers will have to incur loss, agriculture department officials said.
Nurul Haque, a farmer of Salangka village in the district’s Kalihati upazila, said he cultivated Aush paddy in around 22 bighas of land but all have been inundated.
Besides, seedbed of one mound of transplanted Aman paddies washed away by the floodwater, he added.
Contacted, Ahsanul Bashar, deputy director (DD) of Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) in Tangail, said they would cover up the losses.
“We will provide seeds to the farmers who lost vegetables. Those who lost seedbeds of transplanted Aman would also get assistance from our management.”
In Thakurgoan, a large amount of maize, green chilies and vegetables have been damaged due to the flood.
“I cultivated maize which were just around two weeks ahead of harvesting. But this floodwater damaged my maize. I have to incur a loss of around Tk 2 lakh,” said Babu, of Yakubpur village in Sadar upazila.
In Sirajganj, crops of around 28,300 hectares of land have been submerged causing huge sufferings to farmers.
“I was taking preparation to harvesting jute. But jute on two bighas of lands went under water early this month,” said Abdul Hai, a farmer of Betilchar village.
Normally, farmers prepare seedbed for Aman paddy cultivation during monsoon. But prolonged flood has destroyed 265 hectares of seedbeds this year, said Habibul Haque, DD of DAE in the district.
In Bogura, crops worth Tk 72.34 crores, cultivated by some 44,095 farmers, have been damaged by the flood in the first spell, according to DAE.
Rafiqul Islam, a farmer of the Auchar Char in Sariakandi upazila, said he lost 16 bighas of jute due to the floodwater.
“Because of coronavirus, I concentred to work in remote Shaol Char area and cultivated jute on over 16 bighas of land. But the flood has damaged everything. I will have to incur loss of around Tk 1 lakh.”
The losses by second spell of flood could not be assessed immediately, said local agriculture officials.
In Gaibandha, crops worth Tk 15 crore were damaged by the first spell of flood. The damages in the second spell could not be assessed.
In Nilphamari, 607 hectors of land of Aman paddy, vegetables and seedbeds — worth about Tk 1 crore — was damaged in the recent flood.
The district’s agriculture officer Obaidur Rahman Mondol said the affected farmers would be rehabilitated and the authorities would provide them with seeds of different crops and fertiliser at free of cost.
In Manikganj, over 119,256 farmers have been affected as their crops on 30,517 hectors of land went under floodwater in last 26 days from July 1, said Shahjahan Ali Biswas, DD of the district’s DAE.
“We are sending the report to the head office regularly. The affected farmers will be given fertiser and seeds during their cultivation after the floodwater recedes,” he added.
In Sunamganj and Sylhet, paddy farmers fear that they would miss the chance of cultivating paddy this season as the deadline for preparing seedbeds are at the edge of expiring, while many seedbeds are being damaged by flood.
Around 40 lakhs people of 147 upazilas in 30 districts are affected by flood this year, said a report of National Disaster Response Coordination Centre (NDRCC).
Our Lalmonirhat, Tangail, Bogura, Pabna, Sylhet, Manikganj, Thakurgoan and Nilphamari correspondents contributed to this report.