Farmers in Kurigram have been hugely hit, with the recent floods wrecking havoc on their crops.
Agriculture is one of the mainstays of Bangladesh's booming economy, but the devastation to crops in the northern district has put the livelihoods of many farmers on the brink.
In fact, the losses in the agriculture sector caused by the floods in Kurigram has been estimated at a whopping Tk 127.54 crore, according to the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE).
According to the DAE, a total of 80,035 cultivators have been affected by the floods, with 15,851 hectares of cropland in the district being partially or fully destroyed in the natural calamity.
This season, the farmers of the district cultivated 34,310 hectares of agricultural land. But due to the flash floods and heavy downpour, around 15,851 hectares have been inundated. Of these, 7,351 hectares have been damaged fully during the fortnight-long floods.
Apart from this, around 8,427 hectares of cropland have been damaged partially by the floodwaters. As a result, the production of a total of 35,055 metric tonnes of crops has been affected, which is 25.57% of the total crops.
The Aush paddy and jute have been affected the most, followed by vegetables.
Floodwaters have damaged 9,521 hectares of cultivated jute land of a total of 16,577 hectares, 3,580 hectares of Aush paddy of a total of 8,480 hectares, and 1,161 hectares of vegetables of 4,034 hectares of cultivated land in Kurigram.
The damaged crops in the district include Aman seedbed, jute, Aush paddy, sesame, vegetables, peanuts, banana, corn, chili, ginger, turmeric, onion, sugarcane and lentil.
Shamsul Alam, a vegetable grower of Chararpar village under Kurigram sadar upazila, said, “I invested Tk 50,000 from my own pocket and borrowed Tk 30,000 from an NGO. Also, I borrowed Tk 20,000 from a local lender at a high rate of interest. I have suffered huge losses."
Another farmer, Jabbar Ali of the same village, said, “We hoped to make big bucks this year. But the flash floods washed away our dreams.”
Contacted, Md Abdur Rashid, deputy director of Kurigram DEA, said, “We have informed the higher authorities after estimating the losses. The affected farmers will be brought under incentive packages."
"We have already received an allocation to bring 7,000 farmers under incentives which will help them recover some amount of losses," he added.