Farhad Chowdhury : The agriculture officials are afraid that the crop damage may increase due to severe winter and dense fog. They say that several days of severe winter have destroyed many seedlings in the seed bed prepared for Boro and Irri cultivation. The attack of fungal diseases on crop plants has also increased due to prolonged fog with cold. Boro paddy farmers are the most worried about the cold wave and thick fog across the country. In such a situation, the glimpse of rain somewhere has made the farmers more nervous.
Officials of the Department of Agricultural Extension said that in January, apart from Boro, various types of vegetables including potato, pulse, maize, oilseed are cultivated. Boro rice seedbeds are more damaged in winter and heavy fog. Because the ‘fusarium pathogen’ present in the soil in the cold – if it is attacked immediately after sprouting, the seeds will not germinate. Apart from Boro, vegetables, onions, pulses and other crops are being damaged and attacked by insects. Mustard flowers are falling. If the cold spell continues for a few more days, farmers’ worries will increase. According to the sources of Agriculture Extension Department, onion has been cultivated in 1 lakh 98 thousand hectares of land this year. Vegetables have been cultivated in 1 lakh 59 thousand hectares of land. Apart from this, potatoes have been cultivated on four and a half lakh hectares of land. The production target has been set at 1 crore 16 lakh tonnes. Out of this, high yielding potatoes have been cultivated in 3 lakh 93 thousand hectares of land. And local potatoes have been cultivated in 56,505 hectares. Potato, onion and winter vegetable growers will suffer the most if rain comes amid severe winter and fog.
In the current rabi season, a large quantity of vegetables including potatoes have been planted in Sadullapur upazila of Gaibandha. Irri-Boro sapling planting work has started. However, due to the effect of cold current and foggy weather, farmers are worried about the loss of rabi crops. They are trying hard to protect this crop of dreams. Due to severe cold and heavy fog for the last two weeks, the farmers said that the attack of diseases and pests on the crops has increased. They said that due to continuous heavy fog for a few days, blight has appeared in the potato field. This can severely disrupt potato production. Farmers will suffer if infection is not prevented. Farmers complain that the agriculture department is not getting any help in protecting this crop.
Farooq Mia, a farmer of Nijpara village of Dhaperhat union of the upazila, said that he cultivated potatoes in 50th century land this year in the hope of more profit. There was a chance of a bumper crop but due to the heavy fog of the last few days, the fields were attacked by insects and rotting disease occurred. So spraying medicine on the advice of the pesticide shop. Assistant Agriculture Officer of Sadullapur Upazila Ruhul Amin said that they are being advised all the time so that the crops of the farmers are not damaged during the winter. In particular, to prevent infection in potato fields, it is being asked to stop spraying Mancozeb fungicide at the rate of two grams per liter of water every seven days and to stop irrigation of the land.
In Daulatpur of Kushtia, various rabi crops including gourd, bitter gourd, sweet pumpkin, potato, vegetables are being destroyed due to winter and thick fog. Farmers are spending their days in worry and despair as they are not getting any benefits despite the use of fertilizers and pesticides to protect the crops. However, the Agriculture Office says that necessary advice is being given to protect rabi crops in adverse weather conditions. In different areas of Daulatpur upazila, farmers have cultivated various rabi crops including potato, gourd, brinjal, chilli, bitter gourd. Heavy winter accompanied by heavy fog like drizzle is ruining the farmer’s dream crop. Applying several rounds of pesticides to save the crop is not enough. According to the sources of the Agriculture Office, this year in the current Rabi season, potatoes have been cultivated on 1,800 hectares of land and winter vegetables on 1,050 hectares of land.
Locals said that although they got a fair price of paddy in the season, this time they cultivated various crops including potatoes with a glimmer of hope. But it is prone to spoilage due to adverse weather conditions. Rotting diseases have appeared along with the potato leaf shriveling. In this situation, the farmers complain that they are not getting any advice or help from the agriculture office.
Shitalaipara farmer Akbar Ali of the upazila said that red vegetables, gourds, brinjals and bitter gourds planted in thick fog are rotting. There is no cure. They are worried because potato plants die in winter.
Daulatpur Upazila Agriculture Officer Siddikur Rahman said, even if the agriculture officials want to, they cannot go to all the fields. Mobile numbers are given among the farmers. They can take any advice on agriculture from us if they want. Apart from this we are distributing advisory leaflets among the farmers.
Anishur Rahman, a farmer of Bhogdanga in Kurigram Sadar, said that although the seedlings for boro plantations are of mature age, they are unable to plant them due to extreme cold and fog. Meanwhile, the seed bed is also getting destroyed. Forced to cover the seedbed with plastic. Biplab Kumar Mohant, Deputy Director of Kurigram Agricultural Extension Department, said that there are seedbeds on six and a half thousand hectares of land in the district. Dense fog and severe cold are delaying farmers’ boro cultivation.
In this regard, the professor of the Department of Plant Pathology of Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University. Md. Belal Hossain said, if the severe winter and thick fog continue, there is a danger of spoilage of winter vegetables and roro rice. Boro can cause major problems especially for rice seedlings. Seedlings often die due to excessive cold. So, the seedlings should be covered with polythene at night and the polythene should be removed during the day. He said that various types of vegetables, potatoes, tomatoes, brinjals can get damaged due to severe winter and fog.
In this regard, the professor of the Department of Plant Pathology of Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University Md. Belal Hossain said, if the severe winter and thick fog continue, there is a danger of spoilage of winter vegetables and roro rice. Boro can cause major problems especially for rice seedlings. Seedlings often die due to excessive cold. So, the seedlings should be covered with polythene at night and the polythene should be removed during the day. He said that various types of vegetables, potatoes, tomatoes, brinjals can get damaged due to severe winter and fog.
However, the Department of Agriculture Extension says that attention is being paid to avoid any damage to crops due to severe winter and fog in the country. Field officers in each district have already started cooperating with the farmers. Crop protection by reducing crop damage has been suggested. The project director of the Agricultural Meteorological Information System Improvement Project under the Department of Agricultural Extension. Md. Shah Kamal Khan said that several urgent suggestions have been given by the department to protect crops. These are that 3-5 cm of water should be retained in the seed bed of Boro rice in this condition of fog and winter, the seed bed should be covered with transparent polythene at night to protect against the onset of cold and the normal growth of the seedling, and the water should be taken out of the seed bed in the morning and watered again. If the dew that accumulates on the seedlings is not removed every morning, the current weather conditions can lead to potato blight attack. For its control, approved doses of mancozeb fungicides are recommended to be sprayed every 7-10 days. He said that Alternaria blight disease can occur in mustard due to severe winter and fog. As soon as this disease appears, the approved dose of eprodione fungicide should be sprayed 3-4 times every 10-12 days. In addition to regular light irrigation of fruit trees to protect them from the harmful effects of cold, young fruit trees should be covered with straw or polythene sheets to protect them from cold winds. Apart from this, it has been advised to refrain from irrigating wheat fields and to ensure that water does not accumulate in the land.
The additional director of the surface wing of the Department of Agricultural Extension said. Saiful Alam said that if the severity of winter lasts for two more weeks, the risk will increase. For this reason, necessary instructions have been given at the field level keeping in mind the problem of cold.
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