Over 13 per cent of the country’s standing Aus paddy has already been affected by the ongoing floods that inundated at least 23 districts in the northern and middle regions of Bangladesh posing a shortfall in the production of the crop, said agriculture ministry officials.
They told New Age that the government had been trying to expand the Aus paddy cultivation acreage in the country, the important rainfed cereal crop grown in the March-August season.
As Aus paddy is cultivated during the rainy season, so the crop does not require supplementary irrigation, they said, adding that its production cost was less than that of Aman and Boro paddies.
According to the Department of Agricultural Extension, a total of 2,35,484 hectares of Aus paddy are currently standing in the fields and of them some 31,433 hectares have been badly affected by the floods.
DAE officials said that most of the Aus paddy in the northern region went under the current floods, which are most devastating there.
DAE deputy director at its Rangpur divisional office Mohammad Moniruzzaman told this daily that the standing Aus paddy in Kurigram and Gaibandha districts was badly damaged by the floods.
‘But we are yet to assess the [crop] losses,’ he said.
Agriculturist Moniruzzaman said that with the aim of attracting farmers to Aus paddy cultivation, the government provided seed and input support to farmers.
Farmers in the Fulchhari char of Gaibandha said that they had transplanted Bridhan 28 and Bridhan 48 varieties as Aus crop, which were washed away by the floods.
The farmers in the flood-affected areas are now thinking of raising Robi crops after the floodwater has receded, they said.
DAE officials have disclosed that farmers across the country usually grow rainfed Aus paddy on 10 lakh hectares of land, annually harvesting about 24 lakh tonnes, which is about seven per cent of the country’s total paddy output.
According to the DAE, the ongoing floods have also submerged jute on 22,217 hectares of land, vegetables on 7,473 hectares, Aman seedbeds on 6,378 hectares, chilies on 299 hectares, banana on 237 hectares and sugarcane on 220 hectares.
Vegetable prices have already soared in the capital and elsewhere in the country, said people.
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