Sixty-four chars of the River Jamuna in Sariakandi and Dhunot upazilas of Bogura have produced crops worth around Tk800 crore this season, bringing smiles to thousands of farmers in the district.
According to the Department of Agricultural Extension, sedimentation caused by floods last year has helped these chars see the bumper output of various crops including chillies, pulses, legume, paddy, peanuts, onions, jutes etc.
Official data reveal that this year, 20,542 tonnes of chillies have been cultivated in 3,705 hectares of land in Sariakandi upazila. In Dhunot, farmers have cultivated more than 33 tonnes of chillies.
As per the current price, chillies cultivated in the two upazilas this year worth more than Tk309 crore.
Badsha Mia, a farmer from Baghopara char in Kajla union of Sariakandi, cultivated a native variety of chillies on two bighas of land. He sold chillies worth Tk1.6 lakh while the production cost was around Tk50,000.
He also sold legume worth Tk30,000 which was cultivated on two bighas of land.
Badshah said, "Farmers have got a very good harvest due to the flood last year which made the soil fertile. We are also having good prices for our crops this year."
Ripon Mia, a farmer from Indurmara char, said, "Everyone is happy to see this year's crop production. The price is also good. The harvest will change our impoverished condition."
Mokleshur Rahman, a farmer from Jamthal area of Kajla union in Sariakandi, cultivated chillies on 2.5 bighas of land this year. He has earned Tk2.5 lakh by selling his produce.
After chillies, he has cultivated jute on that land. He is expecting a good harvest from jute too.
Jute has added a new dimension in the agriculture of these char lands.
The agricultural office has set a target of bringing 12,140 hectares of land under jute cultivation this year. As there is a good price for jute in the market, farmers are expecting a good earning from jute.
Md Dulal Hossain, deputy director of the District Department of Agricultural Extension, said farmers got a very good price for jute last year. Due to this, farmers are more interested in cultivating this crop. Char farmers in particular are leading in jute cultivation.
However, Ripon Sarkar, a resident of Panchgachhi char in Chaluabari union under Sariakandi upazila, sounded a little different. He has incurred a loss by cultivating a hybrid variety of chilli on seven bighas and onions on 20 bighas of land.
He is now hoping to recover the losses by selling jute which he has cultivated on 13 bighas of land.
Sixty-three chars in Sariakandi upazila including South Shankarpur, East Dharabarsha, Keshtiarchar, Komorpur, Chanbari Dighapara have got a bumper harvest this year. On the other hand, the Bhandarbari char in Dhunot upazila with 300 acres of land has got a good harvest.
The Department of Agricultural Extension said 1,008 tonnes of lentils have been produced on 840 hectares of land in Sariakandi and 24 tonnes in Dhunot, the market price of which is around Tk13.84 crore.
These chars of the River Jamuna also have a good harvest of paddy. According to the local agricultural office, Boro paddy worth Tk168 crore has been produced here this year.
The farmers of these chars have got a good harvest of onions this year as they have produced 22,166 tonnes of the crop worth Tk36.49 crore.
Among other crops 1,023 tonnes of peanuts, 720 tonnes of sweet potato, 1,105 tonnes of legume and 6,382 tonnes of vegetables have been cultivated on these chars.
Abdur Rashid, a trader in Sariakandi Bazar, said at present, jute is being sold at Tk2,000 and dried chilies at Tk6,000 per maund. In the market, paddy is being sold at Tk1,200, legume at Tk1,400, lentils at Tk2,500, peanuts at Tk2,200 and onions at Tk1,300 per maund, he added.
Abdul Halim, agriculture officer of Sariakandi, said, "Silt usually falls on char soils after major floods. This increases the fertility of the soil. This year crops worth around Tk1,000 crore have been produced on 63 chars of the River Jamuna in Sariakandi. Farmers will earn about Tk100 crore more by cultivating jute."
Muhammad Mushidul Islam, agriculture officer of Dhunot upazila said, "Only the Bhandarbari char in the upazila produces crops. But this char is getting smaller each year due to river erosion."