Agriculture in Khulna has been severely affected by climate change, with the district experiencing little to no rain since last June.
Farmers, especially those who cultivate paddy, are in distress as they could not manage enough water to harvest their lands.
As a result, Aman paddy cultivation has been delayed by one and a half months in the district.
Besides, due to the lack of rain, some 80,000 farmers of the district have gone through a decline in the production of paddy, vegetables and jute.
Earlier, the Department of Agricultural Extension had set a target to cultivate Aman paddy on 93,170 hectares of land during the monsoon season.
However, due to the drought-like situation, farmers only managed to harvest paddy on 16,555 hectares of land in autumn - which is only 17% of the target.
Abu Hanif Moral, a farmer of the district’s Kharnia village, said he has to collect water in pitchers to irrigate his vegetable farm.
Over half of the agricultural land in Kharnia union is cultivated with Aman due to a lack of water to irrigate it, he added.
He also mentioned that farmers of Tipna, Bamondia, and other villages are irrigating their lands with water from the Bhadra River.
However, this step will increase their cost of production.
Another farmer, Abdul Mobin, from Dumuria Sadar upazia said he has been working in the agricultural sector since he was a teenager.
He said that the district has never experienced rainfall this light.
Alam Sarder, a farmer from Paikgacha, said that even though there were no rainfalls reported in the district during the monsoon season, autumn did bring some relief.
But, that too was not sufficient enough to properly irrigate their lands.
Sarder later said that the beels and haors in Khulna always overflowed during monsoon, but it did not happen this year.
In this regard, Paikgacha upazila Agriculture Officer Md Jahangir Alam said that due to the lack of desired rain, progress in Aman cultivation has been low.
The planting period has been extended, and so far 40% of Aman paddy has been cultivated.
Farmers are seeing a rotting of jute produced on 450 acres of land in the tidal water of rivers, and elsewhere by digging holes in the soil.
He added that farmers were advised to seek the help of Palli Bidyut Samity for irrigation.
Md Hafizur Rahman, deputy director of the Khulna unit Department of Agricultural Extension, said Aman paddy is being cultivated by extracting water from rivers in Phultala, Terokhada, Rupsha, Dumuria and other upazilas.
As the river water in Paikgacha and Koira upazilas is still salty, it cannot be used to cultivate lands.
Even though the seedbed is 100% completed, the production of Aman paddy will be significantly less.
Besides the lack of rain, farmers in Khulna still could not overcome the impact of various natural disasters, including cyclones Amphan and Yaas caused by climate change.
As a result, Boro paddy did not receive a fair value this year.
Aush paddy is being cultivated on 3,630 hectares of land, while 1,316 hectares of land are being used for growing jute, 35 hectares for tomatoes, 273 hectares for watermelons, 295 hectares for beans, and 8,265 hectares for winter vegetables this year.
Sources also said that Khulna recorded 388.89mm of rain in June last year and 506mm in July.
This year, some 94.36mm of rainfall was recorded in June, 91.27mm in July, and 161.19mm till August 23.
Mered Azad, from Khulna Meteorological Office, said 18 days have already gone in this season, and there is still no sign of rain.
He noted that Khulna goes through this situation every three to four years. The last time Khulna experienced such a drought-like situation was in 2019.
Azad later said it is likely to rain in two to three days in Khulna.
Source: Dhaka Tribune