Vol. 5 Num 70 Thu. August 05, 2004  
Front Page

Aman withers in parched lands
District agriculture offices still hopeful to meet production target

Broadcast Aman plants in some districts are withering because of heat amid a drought-like situation at a time when most regions are reeling from devastating monsoon flooding.

District offices of the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) said farmers in Jessore, Lalmonirhat, Rangpur and Gaibandha feared crop failures because of the unfavourable weather system.

"The situation is not unusual in Bangladesh," said Arzumand Habib, deputy director of the meteorological office. "Some districts unaffected by the flooding are lacking rain. The drought-like situation has parched the land and will affect farmers like the floods."

But the monitoring section of the DAE is yet to estimate the losses caused by the weather.

Farmers in eight upazilas in Jessore have been irrigating their farmlands with about 5,000 deep and shallow tube-wells and power pumps to scrape through the trying time.

Putting on a brave face, the district agriculture offices said it was confident of brining 1,28,100 hectares under Aman cultivation and achieve the production target.

Fissures cover a large swathe of farmlands in the wake of the recession of floodwaters in Lalmonirthat.

Local agriculture office said Aman plants on 3,000 hectares in Aditmari, Kaliganj, Hatibandha and Patgram upazilas were damaged by the draught-like weather.

The worst affected areas are Hajiganj and Bhelabari of Aditmari upazila, Lohakuchi, Goral and Chandrapur of Kaliganj upazila and Doikhawa of Hatibandha upazila.

After the recession of floodwaters, farmers sowed Aman seeds with high hopes investing their last resources, but the sun parched their fields with a vengeance, agriculture officials said.

The Rangpur agriculture office said rice plants in 500 hectares in the district were now drooping.

"Although farmers have been operating 120 pumps to irrigate their stony rice paddies, the district is likely to achieve 85 percent of farming target," an official source said.

An official of the monitoring section of the DAE said they were yet to determine the drought loss.

"We are busy with post floods rehabilitation of farmers."

PINNING HOPES ON CROPS: Farmers plant rice seedlings in farmlands in Fulchhari upazila in Gaibandha after the fury of floods that devastated acres of croplands eased in the northern district. PHOTO: STAR