72,212 tonnes of crops damaged by Bulbul

According to a primary report of the Department of Agricultural Extension, Bulbul damaged more than 2.70 lakh hectares of standing aman paddy alone, which was about 22 per cent of the country’s total aman area.

The cyclone ‘Bulbul’ on Saturday night damaged over 2.89 lakh hectares of standing crops, including seasonal aman paddy, in 16 districts of the country.

Around worth Tk 263.05 crore were damaged by the cyclone.

Agriculture Minister Abdur Razzaque on Tuesday revealed the information while speaking at a press conference at the Secretariat.

Notable, on Saturday night and Sunday morning, the cyclone swept over 16 southern and southwestern districts of Bangladesh. The districts are Khulna, Satkhira, Bagerhat, Narail, Barisal, Bhola, Patuakhali, Barguna, Pirojpur, Jhalakathi, Madaripur, Gopalganj, Shariatpur, Noakhali, Feni and Lakshmipur.

At the briefing, the minister said, “According to initial data, 2,89,006 hectares (14 percent of total cultivable land) of croplands have been affected while 22,836 hectares (8 percent of total affected land) got damaged.” 

Informing that around 72,212 tonnes of crops have been damaged, he said, “The affected crops are Ropa Aman, winter vegetables, mustard, khesari, lentils and Betel Leaf.”

“Around 2,33,578 hectares of Ropa Aman, 1,476 hectares of mustard, 16,884 hectares of winter vegetables, 31,088 hectares of Khesari, 195 hectares of lentils, and 2,663 hectares of betel leafs were damaged,” the Agriculture Minister said.

At the briefing, in reply to a query over damage of paddy, Agriculture Secretary Md Nasiruzzaman said, “Assumedly, we have lost Tk 47 crore in Ropa Aman and Tk 79 crore in vegetables.”

Claiming that the damage caused by the cyclone will not affect the market, Razzaq explained, “There was excess production during the last Boro and Aman seasons. The harvest of paddy has only just begun. There has enough crop in the field.”

The Minister also said that the agriculture rehabilitation will start soon after getting the allocation from the Finance Ministry.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, DAE director general Abdul Muyeed told the media that field officials had already embarked on advising affected farmers on how to recoup the crop losses and also to raise new crops.

He further said that the government would consider providing incentives to the affected farmers.

Commenting over damage of crops by Bulbul, Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University’s agronomy professor Abdullahil Baque assumed that the upcoming robi crops would be delayed in the cyclone-hit areas.

“Among the standing crops, the aman output would be largely affected under the impact of cyclone,” he said. “To compensate for the loss of aman output,” he suggested, “hybrid boro paddy could be cultivated in the coming boro season.” He also advised that short-duration crops should be introduced in the affected districts.

Our correspondent in Satkhira reported that 5,017 fish enclosures and 25,000 hectares of crops were damaged by the cyclonic storm in the district. Of the total affected crop area, 15,000 hectares of transplanted aman were totally destroyed.

The losses in the fisheries sector were estimated to be Tk 10.56 crore, said officials concerned. Satkhira district fisheries officer Moshiour Rahman said that a total of 5,017 fishery enclosures in Shyamnagar, Kaliganj, Ashashuni and Tala upazilas were washed away during the cyclone.