The government is considering schemes to help more than 50,000 farmers affected by the recent cyclone Bulbul in southern districts, said Agriculture Minister Muhammad Abdur Razzaque. “There has been discussion with the finance ministry to help farmers recover the losses of their standing crops. Agricultural rehabilitation activities will start in the affected areas soon after we get allocation from the finance ministry,” the Minister said during a press conference organized at his secretariat office to share the ministry’s preliminary estimate of damage to agriculture caused by ‘Bulbul’.
Crops on a total of 22,836 hectares of land were damaged by the November-10 cyclone, resulting in the loss of 72,200 tonnes of crops worth about Tk 263 crore, the ministry in its preliminary estimate revealed. The ministry estimated that damage to winter vegetables alone was worth Tk 79 crore followed by aman paddy worth Tk 47 crore. There was damage to lentil, mustard, betel leaf and other crops too.
The minister said that crops on 2.89 lakh hectares in 16 southern districts were affected but the level of damage was not significant. Cyclone 'Bulbul' hit the shore after being interrupted by Sundarbans. The storm hit more than 16 coastal districts in the country. Field crops and fish were the worst affected.
The forest department has begun calculating the losses in the Sundarbans, but it has not yet been finalized. However, tourists have been banned from entering the forest for the next five days so that the fallen trees of the Sundarbans are not stolen. In Gopalganj, 80 percent of the vegetable fields were severely damaged by the cyclone 'Bulbul'.
According to the Gopalganj Agriculture Extension Department, the cyclone Bulbul has destroyed about 2 crore vegetables in the district. Gopalganj Department of Agriculture Extension said that after the monsoon, farmers planted various crops on 677 hectares of land in Gherapar including wheat, tomatoes, gourd, papaya, pumpkin, beans and cauliflower.
Ramesh Haldar, a farmer in Gopalpur village in Tungipara, said, "The storm has taken away our vegetables worth thousands of taka. Now we are devastated. We want government help to overcome this situation.” "We understand the pains of the farmers and we are with the affected farmers," said Ramesh Chandra, deputy director of the Gopalganj Agricultural Extension Department. We will extend all kinds of cooperation that we can offer.”
Most affected by Bulbul were in agriculture, winter vegetables, and paddy fields. In the southern districts almost all the standing crops went under saline water which causes huge damages to the crop land due to increased salinity in the future. Khulna Deputy Director Pankaj Kanti Majumdar said that, in Khulna district, 25,000 hectares of paddy and 864 hectares of winter vegetables were affected by the cyclone 'Bulbul'.
He said that agricultural officials were giving suggestions to the farmers in the field. separate lists are being prepared and sent to the Ministry for compensation to the farmers. Meanwhile, the Department of Fisheries has said that the cyclone-hit 10 coastal districts of the country and damaged 46 million 80 lakh 77 thousand fish resources.
Director General of Fisheries Kazi Shams Afroz said, the affected fishermen will be brought under fresh cultivation programmes. For this, the government will assist them financially. They will be trained so that the fishermen can overcome the damage quickly.