POST TIME: 1 September, 2018 00:00 00 AM
Scarce rainfall worries jute farmers
Our correspondent, Lalmonirhat

Scarce rainfall worries jute farmers

Jute farmers in Lalmonirhat are a worried lot as scarcity of water, on the back of scant monsoon rains, is hampering the process of retting jute stalks. Already, farmers have started harvesting jute, but most canals, ponds and rivers in the region are either dry or have water levels insufficient for retting the jute stalks. On visiting some areas of the region, it was seen that farmers had kept the jute bundles under the sky or roadside after harvesting. As there is no water in ponds or canals, the jute bundles are drying up under the harsh sun.

Poresh Chandro, a farmer of Sharpukur union, said that he had harvested his jute crop, but was unable to soak them in water as there was no pond or waterbody nearby with sufficient water in it.

Though the rainy season is still on, rains have been insufficient this year. Farmers in the area had to cultivate aman paddy using diesel-operated shallow irrigation pumps. Most ponds, rivers, and water bodies usually overflow in the Bengali months of Srabon and Bhadro, but, this year, the scenario is different. There is either no water in the rivers and the ponds, or too little to be of any use.

Persons concerned blamed climate change for this year's scarce rainfall in the northern region, saying if this situation continues, the area will become a desert in the future.

According to sources in the Department of Agriculture and Extension (DAE), Lalmonirhat, farmers cultivated jute in 3,995 hectares of land this year, in five upazilas of the district. Jute cultivation increased as the demand for jute bags has increased and the prices in recent years have been good. A maund of jute typically fetches Tk. 2,000-2,200 in the local market.