–Lowest rainfall in 40-years
-Aman cultivation decreased by 30 pc
-12 lakh tons of less rice production feared
Mahfuja Mukul: Anti-nature behaviour, extreme contrasts in weather have created huge impact on the agriculture. There is no rain even during the rainy season. Bangladesh is going through the least rainy year in four decades. The crops are burning in the field. Electricity is not available in time for irrigation. The price of diesel has also increased. Fertilizer under syndicate. There is acute shortage of fertilizers in many areas. Farmers are not getting fertilizer even with high prices. All in all, the farmers of the country are going through adverse conditions.
Agriculture officials say that the production of Aman rice is decreasing. If this situation continues, there will be a decline in paddy cultivation in the upcoming Boro season as well. Farmers will show reluctance due to lack of irrigation-fertilizer and additional cost. This may disrupt food production.
According to them, even in the upcoming Boro season, if the current price of diesel is continued, the production cost of paddy will increase manifold. Irrigation costs will increase at the root level. Paddy harvesting, threshing and supply will be affected. Farmers may have to count losses due to abnormal cost increases. Buyers will have to buy rice at higher prices, which is a clear omen.
Agricultural Economist Jahangir Alam Khan told, “Due to floods and drought, the cultivation has decreased. Fuel oil prices will be a big factor as the upcoming boro becomes irrigation dependent. Many farmers will be disinterested in paddy cultivation due to the additional cost. Even then, those who will cultivate, they will be in fear of not getting the fair price of paddy. As the cost of agriculture increases, the consumer will have to eat rice at a higher price. All in all, great trouble is coming for rice.
Former Agriculture Secretary Anwar Farooq said, ‘Aman cultivation has decreased in about 30 percent of the land. The production of paddy was low in the previous Aush season as well. Concerns remain about the upcoming Boro. Because of this, a big blow is coming for food production.
Most of the rice produced in the country comes from paddy produced during Boro season. At present, 55 percent of the total rice produced in the country comes from Boro season rice. 39 percent comes from Aman rice. The rest comes from Aush. As a result, if the production of the current Amon and the upcoming Boro is disrupted, there may be a huge negative impact on food production.
Cost of farmer increased
70 percent of the country i.e. 33 lakh 74 thousand hectares of land is irrigated with diesel powered irrigation machines, which is 2 crore 52 lakh 20 thousand as bigha. Currently, the price of diesel has been increased from Tk 80 to Tk 114 per litre. Tk 34 increased in Ekalam, which is about 42 percent in terms of percentage. According to the sources of the Directorate of Agricultural Extension, such information is known.
Meanwhile, according to the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRI), 20 liters of diesel is needed for irrigation and cultivation per bigha of land. Due to the increase in diesel prices, farmers will have to spend Tk 680 per bushel for irrigation this year. Apart from threshing, diesel powered shallow machine is also used for transportation. In this case too, the cost will increase by Tk 350-400 per bigha. As a result, the additional cost will be more than Tk 1000 per accident.
On the other hand, the farmer will spend more than Tk 20 thousand crore on fuel oil for 3 crore 2 lakh bigha land only during Boro season. Apart from this, increasing the price of urea fertilizer by 6 taka per kg will increase the cost of rice by 1,600 crore to farmers in the current Amon and next Boro seasons, according to agricultural economists.
Food production to be declined
United States Agricultural Agency USDA, publishes reports on Bangladesh. They published a report last July. It is said that 3 crore 68 lakh 50 thousand tons of rice was produced in Bangladesh in the fiscal year 2021-22. However, in the current (2022-23) fiscal year, rice production will decrease. They said, the current season production can be 3 crore 56 lakh 50 thousand tons.
However, the demand for rice in the country is more than this. Because of this every year more or less rice has to be imported. According to the Board of Revenue, the total import of all types of rice in the fiscal year 2021-22 was 10 lakh tons. Imports may increase this year. If the production is low, the import may have to increase two to four times, the stakeholders think.
Minister also says production will decrease
The Minister of Agriculture Dr Abdur Razzak has expressed concern that the production of Aman may decrease. He said, “The price of fuel oil is high. Most of the time there is no electricity in village. Irrigation crisis has developed. Aman paddy has been planted late in many places due to floods. In such a situation, due to lack of irrigation, paddy fields burst. That is why I am in great uncertainty about Aman.
The minister said, “This situation has been discussed in the cabinet. As I said, the production of paddy will be greatly reduced. Uninterrupted electricity is required for irrigation work in Aman for the next 15 days.
Abdur Razzak said, “Meteorological department says that the lowest rainfall has occurred this year in the last 40 years. Not only in Bangladesh, the situation is the same in various countries including Europe. As a result, paddy cultivation has to be done with irrigation. Production will be disrupted due to lack of irrigation in many places.
The minister claimed that although there is a problem with irrigation, the issue of fertilizer shortage is not true. He said, “Until next December, there is a stock of fertilizer in excess of demand.” Still, some dealers and unscrupulous traders are creating instability by raising prices locally. Action is being taken against them.
Regarding the increase in the price of rice, the agriculture minister said, “The businessmen of our country are very clever. They are hoarding rice knowing that the production of Aman will decrease. That is why the supply of rice in the market is less. The price is also extra.
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