Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, Chattogram farmers have witnessed bumper yields of Aush paddy, and they have earned twice as much as the cost. The Chittagong District Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) expects production of 1,08,350 tonnes of paddy this season, which is 11% more than that of the last season.
Farmers have already harvested Aush paddy from 94% of the land. Besides, they are busy planting Aman saplings. Farmers are optimistic about a good yield of Aman paddy too if the weather is favourable.
Kabir Hossain, District Training Officer of the DAE, Chattogram, said, "Other departments were closed during the outbreak, but DAE officials have been in regular contact with farmers in the area. Due to the intensive communication between them, the bumper yield of paddy has been achieved even during this crisis."
The planting of Aman saplings will be completed by September 15, he added.
According to the Chittagong District Office of the DAE, as per the production target, Aush was planted on 40,426 hectares of land in the 2019-20 season.
In the last 2018-19 season, 96,282 tonnes of paddy was produced on 35,881 hectares of land.
In the 2017-18 season, 95,317 tonnes were produced on 35,600 hectares of land, and in the 2016-17 season, 82,355 tonnes of paddy was produced on 32,450 hectares of land.
Abdul Khaleq, a paddy farmer in the Mirsarai Upazila of Chattogram, told The Business Standard, "I have cultivated Aush paddy on 160 acres of land this season. The production cost was Tk30,000. According to the current market price, the price of paddy produced is Tk75,000. I planted paddy saplings on 480 acres of land during the Aman season. If the weather is favourable, I hope the Aman yield will be good."
Chattogram's Banshkhali upazila agriculture officer Abu Salek said they were holding regular meetings with farmers to maintain paddy production as per the target. All measures have been taken to ensure rice production is not affected in any way due to the pandemic.
"Aush paddy has been produced on 6,500 hectares of land in Banshkhali upazila this season. Farmers have already harvested 60% paddy. On the other hand, Aman paddy has been cultivated on 14,500 hectares of land, and the farmers have already planted saplings on 90% of the land," he added.
According to the District DAE, farmers have planted more BRRI Dhan-48, BRRI Dhan-55 and BRRI Dhan-58 in the Aush season. Besides, BR-22, BR-23, BR-51, BR-52, BR-75 paddy has been planted in the Aman season.
According to the data of Chattogram District DAE, 4,81,169 tonnes of paddy was produced on 1,78,600 hectares of land in the 2016-17 season; 4,84,507 tonnes on 1,76,275 hectares of land in 2017-18; and in the 2018-19 season, 5,03,786 tonnes of Aman paddy was produced on 1,78,700 hectares of land.
In the current 2019-20 season, the DAE expects production of 5,16,585 tonnes of paddy on 1,81,508 hectares of land.