খরার কারণে হতাশ শ্যামনগরের তরমুজ চাষিরা
Anisur Rahman Milon, Shyamnagar (Satkhira): The heat of drought is falling from the sky of drought. The south-western part of the country is burning hard. The drought-stricken people of the disaster-prone region are feeling the effects of the drought. Juicy fruits produced in Shyamnagar upazila adjacent to the Sundarbans are outside the Sunam district upazila of watermelon. The taste of watermelon produced in Dhumghat village and Kaikhali union of the upazila is not unknown to everyone. In the market, buyers can be heard praising Dhumghat and Kaikhali’s watermelon. The delicious juicy fruit watermelon is now losing its tradition in taste and size due to drought. Due to the drought, the watermelon growers are worried about the cost of production.
Deputy Assistant Agriculture Officer of the Upazila Agriculture Office Md Ali Hasan said watermelon has been cultivated in about 160 hectares of land in the upazila this season. Most of these watermelons have been cultivated in Kaikhali union of the upazila. Besides, Dhumghat, Kashimari and Munshiganj watermelons of Ishwaripur Union are cultivated. Boshkhali of Kaikhali Union, West Kaikhali has more watermelon cultivation this time. Watermelon grower Alamgir Hossain of Kaikhali Union said he has cultivated watermelon on 1 hectare of land. But due to the severe drought this year, the size of the watermelon is getting smaller and the watermelon is becoming curved downwards. Watermelon grower Hafizur Rahman said that watermelon has contracted the virus due to drought. As a result, the inside of the watermelon is not turning red and the sweetness is decreasing.
Deputy Assistant Agriculture Officer Modacher Billah said the last time watermelon was cultivated in the upazila was only 50 hectares and the production was 30 MT. Last time the farmers got good yield and price, this time watermelon has been cultivated in three times the land. At present watermelon is being sold in the market at a price of 20 to 25 rupees per kg.
Ziaul Haque Zia, plant protection officer at the Upazila Agriculture Office, said watermelons weighed 10 to 12 kg in other years due to rains in Shyamnagar. This time the weight of watermelon has been 4 to 5 kg due to lack of rain. He said that there is no possibility of watermelon growing this time as there is no rain, the watermelon field is drying up. The plant protection officer said that farmers in Shyamnagar UP, Kaikhali, Kashimari, Munshiganj and other areas of the upazila have planted watermelons on hundreds of bighas of land relying on nature-dependent rains. But due to lack of ground water in Shyamnagar, farmers rely on water from their own ponds or water bodies to cultivate other crops including watermelon. But now that it is over, it is raining more than the farmers. He demanded the digging of ponds by the appropriate authorities to conserve fresh water to facilitate crop cultivation in different areas.
Upazila Agriculture Officer SM Enamul Islam said watermelons in Shyamnagar are getting smaller and curved due to water crisis. Insect attacks are seen somewhere again. He said he had visited some watermelon farmers’ fields in Kaikhali Union on the spot. He advised to spray water in the evening to meet the shortage of water in the watermelon crop fields. He also advised the farmers to spray chemical pesticides to prevent insect attacks and to spray the spider pesticide thiovit in the right amount to protect them from spider attacks.
The Upazila Agriculture Officer said, “Rain water contains vitamins especially nitrogen. Due to lack of rain, there is a risk that watermelon crop will not produce as desired this time.” It is known that other varieties of watermelon including Wiftop, Dragon, Pakija, Banglalink of India are cultivated in the upazila.
Shyamnagar watermelon growers and other crop growers said that a little rain in the field would have increased the level of the crop produced. At the same time, the taste of watermelon would also increase. All in all, it is raining more than any other type of farmer.
Upazila Agriculture Officer SM Enamul Islam and farmers said that conserving fresh water in different UP canals of the upazila would play a unique role in the production of agricultural crops. He also said that the food produced will be able to meet the demand of the people of the upazila.