Drought in Rangpur disrupts paddy cultivation, farmers in despair

Published : 14 Jul 2022 07:52 PM

The main crop of Rangpur region, Aman paddy, has been affected by severe drought. Farmers are in dire straits over the planting of Aman paddy due to the ongoing drought as they have not been able to recover from the floods this year. Due to insufficient rainfall in the season full of Aman paddy cultivation, many lands are lying uncultivated due to lack of water. Paddy seedlings are burning in the continuous heat. In this situation, the Department of Agriculture Extension has directed to give supplementary irrigation for planting Aman saplings.

In the first month of the monsoon season, a few amount of rainfall created a tension among farmer. The Rangpur region has been burning for several days without recovering from the recent floods caused by incessant rains. Due to the lack of water in the highlands, wealthy farmers in the area have planted seedlings by irrigating the land, but the small and marginal farmers are waiting for rains to irrigate the Aman paddy fields. 

 The Department of Agriculture is advising the farmers to install irrigators to provide supplementary irrigation as the target of Aman cultivation may not be met if the drought is not being dealt with. According to the meteorological office, five districts of the Rangpur agricultural region did not receive heavy rainfall in the first month of the monsoon season this year. Drought has been prevailing in the region for several days. As the temperature fluctuates between 36 and 38 degrees Celsius, the fields and croplands are drying up due to extreme heat. Rangpur recorded a maximum temperature of 38.4 degrees Celsius on Thursday, sources said, adding that such a situation could prevail for a day or two.

It can be seen on the ground that planting Aman saplings on low lands seems to be in full swing. However, high and medium lands are facing shortage of water waiting for planting. Seedlings of previously planted fields are dying due to lack of groundwater. Prosperous farmers are making land by running shallow machines. Many people are trying to save the seedlings by irrigating them with local tools like pot, bucket etc.

 Abdul Hakim, a farmer from Navnidas village in Gangachara upazila of Rangpur, was weeding the land with irrigation water. He said the main crop of the region, Aman paddy, had been known as a rain-fed crop for so long. But now they are worried about the weather disaster. Nazrul Islam, a farmer from Shahidbagh village in Kaunia upazila, lamented the delay in planting saplings due to lack of rain. Rabi crops (potatoes, wheat, vegetables) will also be delayed if paddy is not produced in advance. ' If the main crop Aman cultivation is disrupted due to lack of rain, they will have to starve. They also said that it is costing seven to eight thousand Tk per bigha to cultivate Aman with irrigation.

According to the Agriculture Department, the target for Aman paddy cultivation in the current Aman season has been set at 6,15,075 hectares of land in five districts of the Rangpur agricultural region. Of these, 1,08,835 hectares in Rangpur, 1,29,500 hectares in Gaibandha, 1,19,950 hectares in Kurigram, 6,500 hectares in Lalmonirhat and 1,13,100 hectares in Nilphamari. Until July 14, it was possible to plant saplings in only 13,017 hectares of land against the target.Emdad Hossain Sheikh, Additional Director, Department of Agricultural Extension, Rangpur Region, said the cultivation of Aman paddy is mainly rain-fed. However, there was not enough rainfall in this paddy-growing season. He also said that he was instructed to provide supplementary irrigation in case of drought at present. However, he said there was still a long way to go before planting rice seedlings.