Thursday, August 17, 2017 | ePaper

Haors lose crops worth Tk 4625 cr

Growers to get assistance until next Boro season: President

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Staff Reporter :
Hit by crop losses, thousands of farmers in the country's six Haor districts are now strongly in need of food.  
Farmers, who depend on only Boro paddy in Haor areas of Sunamganj, Habiganj, Kishoreganj, Netrokona, Sylhet and Moulvibazar districts, are facing an estimated loss of Tk 4625 crore due to flash flood and incessant rain that have destroyed almost all crops over 17 days.
As a result, over 12 lakh farmers' families in the Haor districts will have to face a severe food shortages in coming days, local people said on Tuesday.
The flash flood and incessant rain have led to acute food crisis and pushed up other essentials prices, throwing the poor farmers into a starvation-like situation, they added.
Meanwhile, President M Abdul Hamid on Monday night expressed his grave concern over the early flash flood in Haor districts.
 "Being an inhabitant of Haor and also a son of a farmer, I am very much anxious about the situation and we need a permanent solution to it," he told a views-exchange meeting with local elected representatives, senior citizens, professionals, academics, freedom fighters and government officials at Sunamganj Zila Parishad auditorium
When the farmers were supposed to be busy with harvesting the Boro paddy with hopes and smiles, they were seen running after different points of open market sales (OMS) in the Haor districts to buy rice and wheat at Tk 15 and 17 a kg.
Every year bumper harvest of Boro paddy bring smile to the faces of farmers of the districts, but this year flood took away all the joy leaving them in a disarray.
Usually rice traders from different places in the country throng the Haor districts' markets to buy paddy directly from the farmers between mid-April and May every year.
Farmers with their produces come to the markets to sell their crops amid festivity. After selling paddy, they then usually buy other essentials.  
"During this time every year, we work round the clock to harvest our paddies. But this year we have no paddy….no work. We are now running after food and relief. We are now at risk of starvation," a farmer of Sunamganj district said.
Talking to local journalists, the farmers also said they would also have to face financial constraints this time as they could not sell paddies.
 "As most of our standing Boro paddy have been destroyed, we are facing serious financial hardship. We are now hard-crunched with little cash in hand to buy food and meet other immediate needs," a farmer said.
Haor district administrations opened the OMS facility since April 9 after early flash floods damaged Boro crops on most parts of the district.
Of 1.6 lakh hectares of farmland under Boro cultivation this season, 1.13 lakh hectares have been submerged while crops grown on nearly one lakh hectare completely destroyed.
BSS adds:  Expressing solidarity with demands of flashflood victims of Haor regions, President M Abdul Hamid has said capital dredging of rivers coming from across the border to Bhairab is essential to ensure proper navigability to save haors from flash floods.
 "Capital dredging system of the rivers is a must to save the Haor areas from inundation . . . Besides, the construction of sustainable embankment is needed," he told the view-exchange meeting on Monday.
He said, "I have already talked to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina who already assured me of providing necessary assistances in this regard."
The affected farmers will be provided with assistance until the next Boro season, the President said.
He also stressed combined efforts of affluent and local leaders to overcome the situation collectively.

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