The three-phase floods have damaged jute worth Tk27 crore in several char areas of the Teesta and Brahmaputra basins in Rangpur and Bogura.
According to the Department of Agricultural Extension, 40,700 jute farmers have been affected as about 3,600 hectares of land in nine districts of the two regions have been submerged.
When water level in the rivers of the Teesta and Brahmaputra basins started rising on June 20, jute – along with other crops – was flooded. As a result of five months of floods, 10,000 tonnes of jute have been damaged in five districts of Rangpur (Rangpur, Nilphamari, Kurigram, Lalmonirhat, Gaibandha) and four districts of Bogura (Bogura, Sirajganj, Pabna, and Joypurhat).
Md Ali, additional director of the Rangpur region Department of Agricultural Extension, said this year, 27,687 farmers planted jute on 6,172 hectares of land in Rangpur, but jute on 2,162 hectares of land was damaged in the floods, causing a loss of about Tk18 crore.
Meanwhile, GMA Gafur, additional director of the Bogura region Department of Agricultural Extension, said 12,945 jute farmers lost 1,435 hectares of jute land, causing a financial loss of Tk9.65 crore. The average yield of jute is 2.52 tonnes per hectare.
According to the primary estimation of the Department of Agriculture, 10,000 tonnes of jute were initially damaged, and to recover the losses the department had undertaken initiatives to help the farmers cultivate other seasonal crops.
Anwar Hossain, a jute farmer from Chaluabari union of Bogura's Sariakandi upazila, said he had cultivated jute on 1.5 hectares of land at an average cost of Tk35 per hectare, but all the jute was destroyed in the floods. With a normal yield, he would get at least four tonnes of jute from one and a half hectares of land.
"I leased one hectare of land on a contract of Tk2 lakh, but all the land – as well as the jute – was lost due to river erosion, causing a loss of Tk4 lakh," he said.
Anwar Hossain Fayez Uddin Sheikh of the same village said, "I harvested jute from 0.50 hectares of land during the floods but the rest – about a tonne –was washed away due to rising water in the river overnight. I spent about Tk15,000, lending money from others, to cultivate jute on that land. I have not been able to get a single penny in return this time."
Shahidur Rahman, a farmer from Kale village in Kurigram Sadar upazila, said the yield was low compared to that of last year as he got about half a tonne of jute on 0.50 hectares of land this time at a cost of about Tk8,000.
Nazrul Islam of Charbhurangamari village in Bhuruingamari upazila of the same district said he had cultivated jute on 0.66 hectares of land this year. He lost Tk24,000 as the jute on 0.13 hectares of his land was destroyed in the heavy rains.
He added the jute he has harvested from the remaining 0.53 hectares of land is half the amount he got last year.
Last year he got 1.2 tonnes of jute from 0.13 hectares of land and this time he got 0.70 tonnes from the same piece of land.