By Dr Aynal Haque
RAJSHAHI, Nov 21, 2020 (BSS) – Over 2.14 lakh farmers in the division will be given seed and fertilizers support to make sure their recouping of losses caused by the devastating flood that occurred during the last July to September, officials said.
The farmers will be provided with the assistance aimed at boosting the production of various Rabi crops like wheat, mustard, lentil, peanut, grass pea, tomato and chili in all eight districts of the division.
To this end, the government has already allocated around Taka 16.46 crore and distribution of the rehabilitation assistances is going on everywhere in the division successfully at present, said Sirajul Islam, Additional Director of Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE).
He mentioned that 36,500 farmers will get support for wheat farming, 60,000 for mustard, 21,200 for lentil, 27,000 for chilly, 23,000 for tomato, 12,000 for peanut, 13,000 for sunflower and 24,500 for grass pea cultivation.
Apart from this, 24,600 small and marginal farmers will be given seed and fertilizers as incentive free of cost at a cost of around Taka 1.49 crore for boosting production of crops like boro paddy, maize and mungbean in the Rabi season and its subsequent Kharif-1 season.
Meanwhile, the DAE has set a target of producing around 87.52 lakh tonnes of various crops from 12.14 lakh hectares of land in the division during the current Rabi and its subsequent Kharif-1 seasons.
Target has been set to produce 37.58 lakh tonnes of potato from 1.60 lakh hectares of land, 9.32 lakh tonnes of onion from 88,800 hectares of land and 20.42 lakh tonnes of vegetables from 86,543 hectares of land.
On the other hand, the flood-affected people are getting back to their normal life at present. The flood, however, left a trail of destruction in the respective affected areas, particularly Rajshahi, Naogaon, Natore, Bogura and Sirajgonj districts.
In addition to bringing untold sufferings to the public life, standing crops on vast areas were affected besides overflowing a huge number of fish farming ponds and canals due to the three to four phases of floods from July to September.
According to the official data, standing crops on around 21,210 hectares of lands worth about Taka 255.73 crore have been damaged by the latest flood affecting over 1.43 lakh agriculture families in different districts.
Various crops like transplanted aman paddy, blackgram, advanced vegetables, groundnut, betel leaf, banana, green chili and direct-seeded aman paddy were affected badly by the floodwater.
Latest official data said the deluge has affected the transplanted aman paddy on 16,256 hectares of land, vegetables on 7,392 hectares, blackgram on 3,864 hectares and betel leaf on 25 hectares of land.
Only in Shingra Upazila in Natore, valuables of around Taka 200 crore were affected by the second phase of flood, said Shafiqul Islam, Chairman of Shingra Upazila Parishad.
He said around 50 dwelling houses have been devoured amid the collapse of a flood protection embankment in Sholakura area.
In the three phases of flood, around 50 kilometers roads have been affected, he added.
Financial assistance and relief materials were distributed among the flood-victims on behalf of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the upazila chairman said, adding the affected people are being rehabilitated in phases.
Bagmara Upazila Chairman Anil Kumar Sarker said some 13 out of the total 16 unions of the upazila were affected by by flood, marooning more than one lakh people. Besides, 500 clay houses were damaged.
Puthiya Upazila Chairman GM Hira Bachhu said the extent of losses by the flood may be Taka 10 crore in his upazila.
Upazila Project Implementation Officer Faridul Islam said measures were taken to support the affected people.
In Atrai Upazila of Naogaon district, more than one lakh people have been affected by the flood.
Hatkalupara Union Chairman Abdus Sukur Sarder said his union is the worst-affected among eight unions of the upazila by the entire first, second and third phases of flood.
Upazila Nirbahi Officer Sanaul Haque said they distributed relief materials among the flood affected people timely.
He also pointed out that the present rehabilitation and stimulus supports will contribute a lot towards facilitating the farmers in recouping the losses as a whole.