- Six types of crops damaged worth Tk334 crore
- Total affected land is 69,626 hectares
- 310,000 farmers affected
- Total production loss by 99,968 tonnes, including 95,934 tonnes of Boro
A sudden heat shock (hot gusts) has damaged Boro paddy worth Tk328 crore and other crops across the country.
The Ministry of Agriculture has estimated that Boro paddy in 21,292 hectares of lands in 36 districts has been affected by the hot gusts on the evening of 4 April.
Paddies in the flowering or milking stage (grain formation stage) have been damaged and chapped in the affected areas.
Besides paddy, maize, vegetables, groundnuts, sunflower and banana have also been damaged and the total loss in terms of money is over Tk334 crore.
The natural disaster may reduce the production of the total crops by 99,968 tonnes, of which 95,934 tonnes are Boro.
The total affected area of Boro paddy is 68,123 hectares. Out of which, 10,298 hectares of paddy land was destroyed and the rest was partially damaged.
Agriculture officials say the temperature has to be between 30 and 35 degrees Celsius before the sheaf of Boro paddy emerges for better pollination and yields.
But on 4 April, the temperature was above 35 degrees Celsius with strong winds. As a result, there was a problem in pollination and the sheaves have turned completely white or black, without any grain.
Boro paddy has suffered the most followed by maize, according to officials from the Department of Agricultural Extension.
According to the report of the ministry, maize worth Tk4 crore has been damaged.
In Bogura, the hot winds and storms have caused damage to Boro paddies on at least 494 bighas (1 bigha=33 decimal) of land in different areas and at least 45% of the paddy in these lands might chap.
After visiting some affected areas, Department of Agricultural Extension Director General Md Asadullah told The Business Standard that discussions were underway to provide incentives to the affected farmers. No final decision has been made yet on what kind of incentive would be given.
However, the ministry has identified another problem. The farmers, whose half or more paddies have been damaged, are not interested in irrigating the fields as they think they cannot recover their losses because the cost of irrigation in the remaining fields would be the same as previous.
Nazmul Bari, the chief scientific officer of the Gazipur Paddy Research Institute, it is imperative to make them aware so that the yield is not wasted.
He said that in addition to providing plenty of water to the partially-affected lands, arrangements should also be made to retain water. Otherwise, the rest of the yield will be lost.
According to the report, the number of affected farmers in the affected districts is 3.10 lakhs. Of these, 30,3620 are Boro, 3,425 are maize, 370 are vegetables, 180 are peanuts, 150 are sunflowers farmers and 2,255 are banana orchard owners.
PADDY IN 500 BIGHAS DAMAGED IN BOGURA
Bogura Agriculture Extension Department said that the weather has been good since the plantation of Bora paddy this year but on 4 April afternoon, hot gusts along with the Kalbaisakhi storm harmed the pollination of Boro paddy.
Due to these natural calamities, the loss of the farmers has been estimated at Tk31 lakh, which might increase further.
In the district, 50 hectares in Sariakandi upazila, 75 hectares in Dhunte and 7.2 hectares in Sonatala have been damaged. The amount of damage in Nandigram and Gabtali upazila is comparatively less.
Usually, Boro paddy yields an average of 20 maunds per bigha which might drop to 10-11 maunds per bigha this year.
This time, Boro paddy has been cultivated in 12 upazilas of the district on 1,88,615 hectares of land and the production target is 7,62,000 tonnes, which may not be possible due to the damages.
The total production of paddy in the district will be less by 4,446 maunds in 494 bighas, worth Tk31,12,220. During the season, farmers sell paddy at an average price of Tk700.
Saju Pramanik has cultivated 28 varieties of paddy in six bighas of land in the Hatfulbari area of Sariakandi upazila and he doubts that he would get even half of the yields he expected due to the damages caused by the winds and heat.
Md Feroz Mia of the same area has cultivated Boro paddy on four bighas of land and all the paddy sheaves have chapped, making him worried about how to run the family.
Another victim, Habibur Rahman, 60, of the Hatfulbari area said that he has never seen such damage.
Terming it as a natural disaster, Sariakandi Upazila Agriculture Officer Abdul Halim said, "We have very little to do to save ourselves from this natural disaster. However, some water should be kept in the paddy field, which can reduce the number of sheaves chapped.
Meanwhile, Dhunat Upazila Agriculture Officer Muhammad Mushidul Islam said 50% of paddy in 75 bighas of around 10 hectares of land in upazila have been damaged.
At least 45 bighas of paddy has been damaged in Sonatala Upazila due to hot weather, said Upazila Agriculture Officer Masud Ahmed.
District Agriculture Extension Officer Dulal Hossain said the amount of the loss may increase further because the sheaves of paddy of all the lands have not emerged yet.