Aman yield concerns amid low rainfall

Farmers have expressed fears that this year’s main rain-fed crop, Aman paddy, will be affected due to less rainfall during the monsoon.

Except for Sylhet, Rangpur and Mymensingh most parts of the country experience low rainfall. The Bangladesh Meteorological Department said the country’s rainfall was 23.5% below average as of June 21.

Although clouds have been gathering in the sky for about two weeks, it has not rained that much. In some places where it has rained, it has fallen less than usual.

However, planting of Aman paddy, the second major rice-producing season, which relies on rains, is in its final stages. Farmers have started preparations for planting Aman paddy. In this case, the farmers are concerned that if the rainfall continues, it will affect the yield of castor rice.

„To effectively combat the impacts of climate change, comprehensive research is critical to understand what specific measures can be taken at this time,” agricultural economist Jahangir Alam Khan told TBS.

„It is necessary to plan ahead to determine what support measures the government can provide. Failure to do so may affect the continuous and sustainable production of rice,” he said.

The Aman season is heavily dependent on rainfall, and insufficient rainfall can affect the country’s rice yields.

Badal Chandra Biswas, Director General of DAE

According to the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE), more land is cultivated in Aman rice compared to Boro. Last season, Boro paddy was cultivated in 50.58 lakh hectares, while Aman was cultivated over 57 lakh hectares.

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An average of 1.5 crore tonnes of rice is produced during the Aman season. Aman paddy was cultivated on 57.5 lakh hectares of land last season, resulting in a yield of 1.67 crore tonnes of rice, which was 7.97% higher than the previous year.

DAE has set an increased target for Aman yields

This year, the target has been set to increase production to 1.75 crore tonnes from 57.18 lakh hectares. However, due to insufficient rainfall, the castor planting target cannot be achieved, according to the farmers.

Farmers had to struggle in the last two yes seasons. Due to insufficient rainfall, irrigation pumps had to be used to plant paddy in many areas. Last year, more than 4 lakh irrigation pumps were installed, while the previous year, more than 6 lakh pumps were required. Installation of irrigation pumps increases the cost of production and affects the overall yield.

DAE officials said that Aman Cultivation is going on in two phases. In the first stage, the initial aman is planted. In the second stage, seedlings are prepared for transplanted aman – also called T-aman. About 70% of the target for early aman planting of 248,700 hectares this year has already been planted.

Across the country, arrangements are underway for seedways for planted aman. If there is enough rain, planting will be done in a month. However, if normal rains are not received, the seedbeds themselves will be damaged and production will decrease, farmers say.

DAE Director General Badal Chandra Biswas told DPS, „The Aman season is heavily dependent on rains, and insufficient rainfall adversely affects cultivation, affecting the country’s rice yield. Last year, many areas had to use irrigation pumps to plant paddy in the Aman season. There was not enough rain.”

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The Meteorological Department has predicted an increase in rainfall in July

However, there is hope amid the situation, the Meteorological Department said. Rainfall has been less than normal so far this month, but the rains are expected to increase next month.

Md Bazlur Rashid, TBS, Meteorological Centre, said, „During the monsoon season, the country receives 71% of its annual rainfall. Most of this rain occurs in July. This year, it is likely to receive more rain than last year. Although rainfall is less in southern regions in June, northern regions including Sylhet It has rained more than usual.

He also said, „Though the sky is cloudy during monsoon, most of the clouds do not shower rain everywhere. Thus, for the past few days, Dhaka and southern regions have been cloudy most of the days, but these clouds have not been present. These regions have received heavy rainfall, which is characteristic of monsoon.

At present, the monsoon axis extends across parts of East to West India, including parts of Assam, Meghalaya, Nepal and Sylhet in Bangladesh, he said.

„As a result, rainfall has decreased in the southern regions including the central parts of Bangladesh. According to the latest forecast, this monsoon is expected to continue to impact Bangladesh in July, bringing widespread rainfall.”

In June, the country received 18,980 mm of rainfall, which is below normal. However, rainfall is 177% higher in Sylhet, 120% higher in Rangpur and 60% higher than average in Mymensingh. But in other areas it is below average.

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This decrease in rainfall has been observed in June for the last two years.

In 2023, rainfall in June is about 14% below normal, according to Met Office data. In contrast, rainfall in 2022 was 3.6% below normal, while 2021 was 18% short of normal. However, 2020 saw approximately 2% more rain than normal.

Climatologist and meteorologist Muhammad Abul Kalam Mallick told DPS, „During monsoon season, usually there are more clouds in the sky; this is normal. However, this time, although there are many clouds, they do not give much rain. The clouds are very small and they fall into droplets before reaching the ground due to evaporation due to temperature.” .

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