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Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Bumper crop in sight, jitters far from over

Our Correspondent
Farmers are on edge as the harvesting of bumper boro crop is nearing, but Abul Khair Mondal of Birampur in Dinajpur is all smiles.

Khair, 48, made a direct phone call to agriculture adviser CS Karim, now touring the north, to say he had received power for irrigation and fertiliser in time to grow crops.

Khair said he did not see such crops in the last 15 years. The picture is not the same everywhere though.

Farmers Sharif and Siddique of Sreepur in Gazipur alleged that they had not received power most of the time, which was necessary for irrigation.

"The availability of timely inputs is very necessary," said Khair, his face aglow with the high prospect for bumper crops.

Dr Shahidul Islam, a director of the Department of Agricultural Extension, told bdnews24.com: "We are satisfied by whatever we have so far, but it is still vulnerable."

Fear persists.

The boro season is a long spell of suspense. Farming continues through the end of May. Terming the present situation sensitive, Dr Islam said: "Now the temperature is high."

"The target may not be reached without proper irrigation. The possibility of natural disasters cannot be ruled out either," he said.

Dr Islam said, according to a government account, 46.75 lakh hectares of land was brought under boro cultivation this time.

The actual amount may be more.

"If crop is harvested on 45 hectares of land, farmers can get at least 1.75 lakh tonnes of rice."

"This time the harvest may cross the target," Dr Islam said.

The picture in Gazipur was diametrically opposite of what farmer Abul Khair of Dinajpur painted.

People in Sreepur of Gazipur district wore gloomy faces as they did not get timely, adequate power for irrigation.

After hearing the farmers speak of their plights, the agriculture adviser who was present there directly made phone calls to the chief adviser's special assistant in charge of power M Tamim.

CS Karim was heard saying: "Please let urban people sacrifice for two more weeks and give the farmers of rural areas adequate electricity."

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