Sudden hot gusts have caused massive damages to Boro paddy overnight on thousands of fields in the haor regions in Netrokona, which field level officials of the agriculture department have called a "heat injury".
Farmers and people concerned said hot gusts were blowing from Sunday evening till 11 pm that has left paddy chapped and pale and tender sheaf damaged in Khaliajuri, Mohonganj and Madon upazila of the district, putting the farmers at a loss.
The Agriculture Extension Department said that about 30-50% of the lands where paddy was in the flowering stage or young paddy was maturing and turning into rice (milking stage) have been damaged, most of which are Biri-29 and hybrid varieties.
However, the lands on which the paddy is ripe have not been damaged.
Farmers in the region have never seen such a catastrophe before and many fear that the situation has become such that the cost of production will not be recovered.
Manzil Chowdhury, a farmer from Mendipur village in Khaliajuri, said about eight acres of his land has completely been damaged. At least 30-50% of the rice has chapped. Other farmers also said that around 2-3 acres of paddy has been damaged.
According to the agriculture department, six unions in Khaliajuri, seven in Mohanganj and seven unions of Madan upazila have suffered less damage in all the haor areas.
Khaliajuri Upazila Agriculture Officer Habibur Rahman said at least 2,850 hectares of paddy land in the upazila was almost completely destroyed.
Madan Upazila Agriculture Extension Officer Raihanul Haque said 5,958 hectares of paddy land in seven unions of the upazila have been damaged, which is 34.5%, affecting 8,850 farmers.
Agriculture Extension Officer of Mohanganj Upazila Zahidul Islam said 30 hectares of land in the upazila was completely and 120 hectares were partially damaged. As a result, there is a risk of low production of 360 tonnes of paddy in the upazila. The financial loss is about Tk87 lakh.
Besides, Boro paddy of some parts of Atpara and Kendua upazilas have also been affected.
Senior officials of the local agriculture department, including Habibur Rahman, deputy director of the district agricultural extension department, visited the affected areas on Monday.
Habibur Rahman said that the damage was caused by the hot gust, which is new. The matter has been reported to the higher authorities of the agriculture department and a team from the Rice Research Institute would visit the field on Tuesday morning.
He said after examination they will be able to determine the real cause of the damage.
He acknowledged that the loss would adversely affect the district's Boro paddy production targets.