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Bangladesh

Scanty rain worries Khulna farmers

Aman cultivation in the ongoing sowing season is badly hampered amid insufficient rain in the district as farmers are reluctant to use saline water for irrigation.

Sowing of Aman paddy starts early July and continues till late August, but hundreds of acres of land in nine upazilas still remain uncultivated, said Pankaj Kanti Majumder, deputy director of Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) in Khulna.

The upazilas include Batiaghata, Dacope, Dumuria, Paikgachha and Koira.

About 18,900 hectares of land in Dacope upazila have been brought under Aman cultivation this year but a large number of farmers cannot prepare seedbeds due to scanty rainfall during the ongoing rainy season, said Mehedi Hasan, agriculture officer in Dacope upazila.

Only one to two percent farmers could prepare seedbeds in the upazila this time, said Mehedi.

As the growers are dependent on rainwater for Aman farming, cultivation of the paddy usually does not require any irrigation.

Rainfall has been decreasing in the district for the last five years, hampering Aman cultivation, said Amirul Azad, senior met officer of Khulna.

Meanwhile, the canals and rivers in the district contain saline water, much to the worry of farmers.

Khulna Met Office recorded 336 millimetres of rainfall from July 1 to August 22 this year while it was 371 millimetres during the same period last year and 689 millimetres in 2017.

Only 115 millimeters of rainfall was recorded in June this year while it was 266 last year and 356 millimetres in 2017, said Amirul.

Proshad Roy, a farmer of Khalashibunia village in Batiaghata upazila, said after preparing the Aman seedbeds, they can wait highest 40 days to sow the seedlings in the field.

“But the farmers of my locality could not prepare seedbeds for lack of rains,” he said, adding that “My land developed cracks due to continuous high temperature for the last three months.”

Another grower Ayub Ali of Katianangla village in Batiaghata said “Generally we depend on rainwater. After mid-June, rains come in the region but it seems summer season this time.”

Dacope upazila Agriculture Officer Mehedi said farmers have faced difficulties to prepare seedbeds due to lack of rains this year.

Shyama Prosad Mondal, a farmer of Sutarkhali village in Dacope upazila, said he has faced manifold problems to prepare seedbeds on twelve bighas of his land.

Due to insufficient rainfall, he used water from canal for irrigation and as the canal contains saline water, his seedbeds were ruined, said Shyama Prosad. 

There is no rain in their locality in the last couple of weeks, he said.

The target of Aman cultivation in the district this season is 92,807 hectares of land but only two to three percent of land have been brought under the cultivation till July 15, said sources at DAE in Khulna.

But during the same period last year, Aman was sown on over 90,000 hectares of land.

Insufficient rainfall is hampering Aman cultivation during the ongoing peak sowing season, said the DAE deputy director.

Now the farmers are watering their land with pumps, he said.

He, however, hoped that the target will be achieved as the sowing will continue till August.

Khulna district produced over 2 lakh 75 thousand tonnes of Aman paddy last year.

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