Almost six lakh farmers have been excluded from the first phase of government’s rehabilitation program for farmers affected by the recent floods in the northern districts of Bangladesh.
According to Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE), floods this year left over 650,000 farmers devastated in the districts of Kurigram, Lalmonirhat, Gaibandha, Bogura and Sirajganj.
Of them, only 76,300 farmers have been enlisted in the first phase to receive government provisions for restarting their agricultural activities.
Farmers in the first phase of the rehabilitation program have been selected on the basis of their economic status, as landless and marginalized farmers dominate the list.
Previously in a July meeting of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agricultural Affairs, it was decided that support would be provided in two more phases to include more farmers.
Abdul Mannan, MP of Bogura 2 constituency, and also member of the agricultural affairs committee said that scope for assisting more farmers will be discussed in their next meeting.
DAE officials said that seedbeds have been prepared on over six hectares of land for cultivating Aman rice, as part of the first phase of the rehabilitation program. 37,000 selected farmers will get Aman rice seedlings while another 40,000 will receive Mashkalai seeds and fertilizer.
Nikhil Chandra Biswas, deputy director at Bogura DAE said that 82,000 farmers were affected in six upazilas of Bogura during this year’s floods. Among them, 6,000 farmers have been selected for the first phase of rehabilitation efforts.
“This year, floods damaged crops worth Tk315 crore in Bogura,” he added.
However, many of the affected farmers claimed that nobody from DAE had come to learn about their problems.
Saiful Islam, a farmer from Gabtoli upazila of Bogura said that floods damaged crops on 0.65 hectares of his land. However, he claimed to not have received any support yet. After water-levels receded, Saiful started cultivating Aman rice and other crops at his own expense.