The DAE has set a production target of 2.04 crore tonnes of boro rice from 48.66 lakh hectares of land across the country this year
Despite shutdown due to corona situation in the country, the agriculturists and agri-officials expect surplus boro production this year as over 98-percent of boro paddy has already been harvested from the haor region that makes up 20% of the total boro output.
"We are hopeful to achieve the boro production target as the agriculture ministry had taken timely steps to meet the labour crisis in the haor region including an initiative to send additional workers there which made the paddy harvest trouble-free in these flash flood prone areas," said Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) official Dr Alhaz Uddin.
DAE's Field Service Director Dr Alhaz said nationwide shutdown due to contain the novel coronavirus made labour crisis in some cases at the time of harvesting season began in the second week of April in the region, but the crisis is totally get over due to timely steps of the government with laborers' mobilization to those areas .
In addition to the government initiative to harvest boro paddy, he said better yield compare to the last year and favourable weather condition made us optimistic to reach the production target.
A DAE statistics showed that over 98 percent of Boro paddy from of 4, 74,195 hectares of land in the seven haor districts — Kishoreganj, Netrokona, Sunamganj, Moulvibazar, Habiganj, Sylhet and Brahmanbaria — and 31 percent paddy of the plain land has already been harvested as the process of crop cutting on rest of the high land will continue till the mid June.
The DAE has set a production target of 2.04 crore tonnes of boro rice from 48.66 lakh hectares of land across the country this year.
Former Agriculture Secretary Anwar Faruque said proper labour management with instant mobilisation of 50,000 labourers to haor areas from different parts of the country, especially from the northern region, by the government in coordination with the district administration and distribution of farm machineries have made the rice harvesting easier and risk-free.
The boro paddy, account for 55 percent of country's yearly rice output, is expected to fulfill its production target as the farmers in the haor areas have cultivated and managed the crop avoiding any natural calamities, he added.
The ministry allocated Taka 110 crore to help farmers buy 800-plus harvesters, and 400 reapers and transplanters as subsidy this year. Of those, 180 new harvesters and 137 new reapers were given to farmers in haor areas, sources said.
A combined harvester can harvest paddy from 1.2 acres of land in an hour while a reaper is capable of harvesting 0.4 acres of land during the same time.
Expressing satisfaction over the overall crop cutting performance throughout the country, Director General (DG) of Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) Dr M Shajahan Kabir said, "we definitely hopeful to exceed the production target as this year the per hectare yield has been set 4.3 tonnes compare to 4.2 tonnes fixed in the last year and it is achievable."
Basically, the boro crop in the low-lying haor areas is used to be harvested between the early week of April and the first week of May when adverse weather condition prevails, said the BRRI scientist, adding that "so, we have completed the harvest in the haor basin and there is no risk in harvesting crop on the rest of the plain land."
Regarding the weather warning impact on the boro crop in the haor region, Executive Engineer Md Arifuzzaman Bhuiyan, of the Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre (FFWC) of the Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWD, who regularly keeps track of flash floods and rains, told BSS that although the country had severe flash flood warning with a rainfall between 220 mm and 320 mm in Sylhet, Sunamganj, Netrokona, Habiganj and Moulvibazar area in the third week of April, but the less rainfall than the prediction creates a scope for the farmers to end the crop harvest in a hassle-free manner in the region.