POST TIME: 26 August, 2019 00:00 00 AM
Seedling crisis hits ‘Aman’ cultivation in Bhuapur

Seedling crisis hits ‘Aman’ cultivation in Bhuapur

A crisis of seedlings has hit the transplantation of ‘Aman’ farming in Bhuapur upazila of Tangail district.

A large number of seed-beds have been damaged by the recent devastating floods. Croplands with seed-beds have also been devoured by the Jamuna. The farmers fear that many lands will remain fallow for want of seedlings.

On the other hand, seedlings from high lands are being brought to and sold at Bhuapur at high prices. The farmers fear losses as the price of paddy is too low for them to cover their production costs.

A source in the upazila agriculture office disclosed that ‘Aman’ seed-beds, covering 107.25 hectares, have been damaged, affecting 6,210 farmers, while ‘aus’ paddy on 1,109.9 hectares have been damaged, affecting 7,420 farmers. The sowing of the ‘aman’ crop on 1,192 hectares has been damaged by floodwaters, affecting 8,100 farmers. Most of the seed-beds under Gobindashi, Nikrail, Aloya, Aurjuna and Falda upazlia parishads and Bhuapur municipality area have been damaged by floodwaters.

With continuous rainfall and the rise in the water level from the upstream, the Jamuna has swelled up in the first week of July. Vast tracts of land, homesteads and educational institutions have been inundated by floodwaters. July was the proper time for ‘aman’ transplantation, but when floodwaters receded, waterlogging lasted and delayed transplantation. Farmers have become busy in ‘Aman’ transplantation now as land has become suitable. But they are disappointed by the seedlings crisis. The farmers of Bhuapur upazila prefer Paijam, Chini Sagor, Kalojira, Guti Swarna, Swarna, BRII 49 and Gainja varieties of aman paddy.

Farmer Raish Uddin of Koyera village said, “My Aman seed-beds have been damaged by floodwaters. Seedlings are not available. Some traders are buying seedlings from the high lands of other upazilas and are selling these at high prices. I am anxious as seedlings are not available. The little amount of seedlings that is available are priced too high.”

Minhaj Uddin of the same village said, “I developed seed-beds on 15 decimals of land. The land went under water for 10 days. The seedlings were fully damaged. I’m worried whether I will recover the price of seedlings as the prices are sky-high. On the other hand, the price of paddy is lower than its production cost.”

Farmer Rohim Mondol of Gobindashi said seedlings for one bigha of land cost Tk. 1,400–1,800. The cost of tilling, workers’ wages and insecticides also have to be added. He foresaw losses in transplantation of ‘Aman’ if the government does not provide compensation or any grant to the flood-hit farmers.

Abdur Rahim and Mohor Ali, seedling traders, came to Gobindashi haat from Madhupur and Sagordighi. They told The Independent that they have to buy seedlings at high prices from those areas. Labour and transport costs are added to the prices. There is high demand for seedlings in the market, they added.

Flood-hit farmers pointed out that the government distributed relief goods to the marooned and distressed people but the flood-hit farmers have been deprived of governmental aid. They demanded seedlings from the government free of cost, warning that otherwise, large swathes of land will remain fallow in the upazila.

Bhuapur upazila agriculture officer Md. Ziaur Rahman said the department has taken an initiative to help the affected farmers who lost their seed-beds with the seedlings within a few days. The farmers who developed fresh seed-beds will be provided logistic help to make their plants healthy and can free seedlings from insects.

Agriculture minister Dr Abdur Razzaque, at a recent meeting held in Dhanbari, had assured the flood-affected farmers that they would be rehabilitated in the post-flood situation and would be given various incentives.