Cold wave, dense fog threaten seedbeds; farmers worried

Published : 17 Jan 2024 10:08 PM

Agricultural activities in Kurigram district facing serious threat as the district is currently grappling with a mild cold wave and dense fog. Farmers, particularly those cultivating Boro rice, are increasingly concerned about the potential damage to seedbeds and crop fields due to the harsh weather.

Despite efforts such as applying pesticides and covering seedbeds with polythene, farmers remain worried.

Anisur Rahman, a farmer from Bhogdanga in Sadar upazila, reported that although his boro seedlings are ready for planting, the cold and fog have hindered this process.

Mantaj Ali, another local farmer, voiced concerns over his potato field, which is now completely enveloped in fog.

Subal Chandra, an officer at the Kurigram Weather Observatory Centre, noted that the temperature dropped to 12.2 degrees Celsius on Tuesday and similar conditions are expected to persist for the next few days. He also warned of a cold wave hitting the district by the end of the month.

Biplab Kumar Mohonta, deputy director of the Kurigram Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE), explained that the cold weather has delayed boro plantation of 6,500 hectares of seedbeds. He cautioned that temperatures below 13 degrees Celsius could cause seedbed leaves to turn yellow.

The DAE has already advised farmers to take additional measures to protect their seedbeds from damage.

Bangladesh's Ministry of Agriculture has issued guidelines for farmers across several districts affected by the cold wave, including Rangpur, Rajshahi, Pabna, Naogaon, Chuadanga, Kushtia, Dinajpur, and Panchagarh.

These recommendations include maintaining a water level of three to five centimeters in boro paddy seedbeds during foggy and cold conditions, covering seedbeds with transparent polythene at night, and refreshing the water in the mornings. Dew on the seedlings should be shaken off to ensure normal growth.

For potato crops, which are also at risk, the ministry advises spraying fungicides from the mancozeb family every 7-10 days at approved doses to prevent damage.

This challenging winter season in Bangladesh is impacting not only agriculture but also daily life and transportation across various regions.