Paddy harvesting in this season have boomed and Ninety percent Boro paddy have been harvested so far in the flood-prone haor areas in the country with early harvesting and no natural disaster has hit the country this year unlike last year’s flash flood.
Bangladesh, the fourth biggest rice-producing country in the world, produces around 39 million tonnes of rice annually to feed its 170 million people. With the rising global warming and growing food insecurity due to Ukraine-Russia war, the need of raising grain production has increased significantly.
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Moreover, salinity intrusion caused by sea-level rise, commercial shrimp cultivation, and a decrease in water flow from trans boundary rivers upstream has directly affected Bangladesh’s southern coastal districts, some of which are major rice producers. However, this season, the haor areas have shown a different scenario as Ninety percent Boro paddy have been harvested so far in the flood-prone haor areas in the country.
A bumper cultivation of Boro paddy
According to the Agriculture Minister, Dr. Muhammad Abdur Razzaque, 33% of the nation’s Boro paddy has been harvested so far, which is an impressive start. To date, 90% of Boro paddy has been harvested in flood-prone haor regions of the nation. The minister stated that this year’s target for Boro paddy cultivation was over 4.97 million hectares of land, but farmers cultivated paddy on 5 million hectares of land. Mentioning that Boro season is the primary season for paddy, Razzaque stated that 0.95 million hectares of land in haor regions were cultivated with Boro this year, with a production goal of 3.8 million tonnes.
Recalling past experiences during Boro paddy harvesting, the minister stated that haro regions always experience sudden flooding during Boro season.
“But this year, 90% of paddy have been harvested in haro areas and we have made it possible as we encouraged the farmers to harvest their paddy earlier,” he added.
Also, Boro farmers in Sunamganj used 1000 combine harvesters and 668 reapers to harvest paddy, which is a great achievement, he said.
“This year, the government has set a target to produce 2.15 crore tonnes rice but we hope that we will be able to produce 2.20-2.25 crore tonnes,” he said. As the weather has been favorable so far, he anticipated there would be no food shortages.
Kashmir Reza, president of Environment and Haor Development Organization, stated that harvesting, threshing, and drying of crop are proceeding smoothly in Sunamganj’s Haor regions due to the favorable weather. “Around 80% of paddy harvesting has already been completed. The rest of the paddy will be harvested within a week,” he added.
This year, according to DAE Deputy Director Bimal Chandra Som, there has been an abundant harvest of Irri and Boro rice in Hoar due to timely rainfall. He stated that there is currently no labor scarcity in the Haor. “We have provided an adequate number of combine harvesters to the farmers. We are very optimistic about reaching the production target this time.” This season, paddy was cultivated on 222,795 hectares of land in 137 Haors in Sunamganj, as reported by DAE. The farmers anticipate harvesting roughly 902,000 kilograms of rice from this paddy. The rice’s market price is Tk3,088 crore.
Ensuring farmer’s fair pricing is necessary
Despite a bountiful harvest this Boro season, farmers believe they’ll lose money unless the government raises the procurement price. The farmers claim that the government’s procurement price of Tk 30 per kilogram will scarcely cover their production expenses. In addition, farmers who are compelled to sell their produce prior to the government’s procurement beginning on May 7 are incurring losses due to the fact that local merchants are purchasing their produce at a much lower price.
Despite the low price, many farmers are forced to sell their harvest at reduced rates because they lack sufficient funds to cover their day-to-day expenses. Boro procurement by the government will continue until August 31.
“As per the government rate, the price per maund of rice will be around Tk 1,200. But I cannot wait [till the government starts procuring] as I need money right now to buy daily essentials for my family. So, I am selling my paddy at Tk 900 to Tk 950 per maund,” said Atiar Rahman, 67, a farmer of Mahendranagar village in Lalmonirhat Sadar upazila.
Farmers expecting a better harvesting year
Despite recent north-westers and hailstorms in the Rajshahi region, most farmers anticipate a healthy harvest this year due to generally favorable weather conditions.”I have cultivated paddy on 15 bighas and expecting to get 30 mounds from each bigha. There was no disease in the paddy field this year,” said Ziauddin, a farmer of Duniabari village in Pabna’s Faridpur upazila.
Dozens of farmers in the regions of Dinajpur and Rangpur have also expressed optimism about the upcoming harvest.