High costs and price hikes hamper farmers in the cultivation of Boro crops, the prime paddy harvest in Sylhet region.
The hiked prices of diesel, petrol fuel and high electricity bills along with other regular products hit the boro cultivation. Besides, the increased cost of labor and irrigation creates the biggest barriers to boosting cultivation of boro in Sylhet division.
Amid these dilemmas, farmers are spending busy time in the boro paddy field ignoring the cold. They are busy in the winter from morning to evening, planting boro rice seedlings in the field.
Along with the planting of saplings, land preparation is also going on. However, due to the increase in the price of fuel oil, the cost of boro rice cultivation has increased much. Besides, farmers said that cultivation is delayed due to a lack of an adequate irrigation system.
Farmers can be seen in different areas of Sylhet, planting different varieties of boro rice in the winter morning fog. Many are preparing the land for planting saplings and tending to the saplings. However, many farmers are suffering from discomfort due to the irrigation crisis and the increase in the price of fertilizers and oil.
According to agricultural extension sources, the target of boro cultivation in four districts of Sylhet has been set for 4 lakh 88 thousand 336 hectares, which has increased a lot compared to last year. Boro was planted late last year but yielded more than the target. This time also the rice target will be reached.
The Prime Minister has announced to take up the initiative of plantation on fallow land. Work is being done accordingly. Besides, the Minister of Agriculture has given instructions in this regard.
A farmer named Rahim Mia said he has cultivated boro paddy on 5 acres of land for two years. Now after preparing the land, seedlings are being planted. He said he would cultivate Boro on another 2/3 acres of land if there were enough fertilizer and irrigation facilities. In addition, the increase in oil prices has increased production costs more than before.
Farmer Sajid Mia said that the cost of irrigation and plowing has increased due to the increase in oil prices. Farmers will benefit if the price of paddy in the Boro season is similar to that of the Aman season.
The Deputy Director of the Agriculture Extension Department, Mohammad Khair Uddin Molla said, this year in Sylhet district, 84 thousand 700 hectares of land have been set as the target for boro rice cultivation. But that target will be exceeded. Last year 84 thousand 500 hectares of land were cultivated. The Prime Minister has announced to use the fallow land for crops, besides the Agriculture Minister has instructions in this regard. We are giving incentives to farmers at different times.
This year, about 70 thousand farmers have been supported with seeds and fertilizers. This year, the target for rice in the district is 3 lakh 40 thousand 250 metric tons. Even though the price of oil has increased slightly due to global reasons, the price of rice is also increasing.
Directorate of Agricultural Extension, Sylhet Region Additional Director, Md. Mosharraf Hossain Khan said, this year, the target of boro paddy has been set on 4 lakh 88 thousand 336 hectares of land in Sylhet division. Boro cultivation has increased in the Sylhet region more than before. Farmers are getting interested in Boro cultivation along with Aush, and Aman. The Prime Minister has given directions for paddy cultivation in fallow land. We are working accordingly. Farmers have been assisted by the government to cultivate Boro paddy. But not everyone can be supported. Priority is being given to those who are marginal farmers. Adequate irrigation is being provided. The government is making every effort to improve the quality of life of farmers.