Potato farmers claimed that there has been an extensive damage to potatoes in Munshiganj by rain due to the effect of cyclone Michaung. Incessant rains have created water logging in low lying potato fields causing possibility of extensive losses.
It can be seen from the surface that almost 80 percent of the land in Munshiganj Sadar Upazila has been cultivated with potatoes. The remaining 20 percent of the land is low-lying and its cultivation is delayed. Farmers claim that potatoes have been cultivated last week in the high lands. As a result, the seedling from the potato seed could not break through the soil and rise up.
As a result, it is feared that the part of the potato under the soil will rot. Farmers believe that the amount of damage will be less in the areas where the seedlings have grown up above the ground. Farmers claimed that the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) does not cooperate with proper advice. Even at the field level, the field workers do not come regularly. With their proper advice, this extensive damage could have been avoided to some extent. It is also known that potatoes have been severely damaged in Gazaria, Tongibari, Sirajdikhan, Lauhjong and Srinagar upazilas.
While talking to potato farmer Kanchan Bepari (45) of Kalirchar area of Adhara Union of Munshiganj Sadar Upazila, it is learnt that three days before the rains started, he cultivated 160 percent of the land. Potato seedlings could not break through the soil and rise up. The seed potatoes remain underground. As a result, the finished potatoes are likely to rot. If seeds are available then he will cultivate potatoes in the field again.
And if seeds are not available, then he will cultivate mustard or other crops. He also said that this year every 50 kg of seed potatoes had to be purchased at the rate of Tk 1,000, 50 kgs of urea fertilizer has to be purchased at Tk 1400, 50 kgs of DAB at Tk 1,500 and 50 kgs of potash at Tk 1400. Accordingly, a total of Taka 3 lakh 80 thousand have been spent to cultivate 160 percent of the land, he said. This correspondent has also talked to other farmers -- Hasan Molla (45), Alem Dhal (50), Shukkar Majhi (50), Saheb Bepari (60), Chorhab Bepari (45) and Badal Bepari (50). They said that each of of them cultivated potato on about 2 to 3 bighas (kanis) of land. Potatoes in all fields have been destroyed by Michaung. They invested here using whatever capital they had. Due to two consecutive days of rain, everything has been exhausted, they added.
Munshiganj District Agriculture Extension Directorate Deputy Director Dr. Md. Abdul Aziz said, this year in Munshiganj district, the target of potato cultivation has been set at 35 thousand 346 hectares. Last year due to the effect of Ampan there was a huge loss of potatoes in Munshiganj. Keeping that in mind, we advised the farmers to plant potatoes late after receiving the advance message from Avro Michaung.
He also said that according to the calculations of the DAE, potato cultivation was completed on 16 thousand 200 hectares of land in the district till the beginning of Michaung. I will not say that the potatoes are spoiled by Michaung. We will say the potato is infected.
Our field workers have surveyed the field. According to the preliminary survey, 12 thousand 762 hectares of potato land in Munshiganj has been affected. At the end of the entire survey, it can be said how much potato land has been destroyed.