Aus production to falter in Sylhet division

With 98 per cent of harvesting completed, Aus production in Sylhet's four districts is expected to be lower than the 4.71 lakh tonnes target.

According to officials from the Department of Agricultural Extension in Sylhet, the drought-like conditions caused by low rainfall during the cultivation period is what led to the failure of reaching the production target.

The circumstances were such that Aus was successfully grown by farmers on 1,74,471 ha of land. This is approximately 84 percent of the total 2,078,820 ha of land designated by the DAE for this season.

According to DAE data, the area under cultivation was 29,033 hectares larger last season.

Dilip Kumar Adhikari is the additional director of DAE Sylhet. He stated that "multiple pragmatic steps taken by the government had encouraged farmers expand Aus cultivation, but production fell due to drought."

Kazi LutfulBari, DAE deputy Director in Moulvibazar, stated that harvesting will end within a few days, if the weather conditions remain favorable.

He explained that despite irrigation using water pumps, the scorching heat of the dry spell prevented seeds germination in the Aus fields.

The region's farmers are worried about their profit margins as they have been irrigated extensively, which has increased the production costs.

Many farmers believe that their decision to grow Aus again this season was based upon the high profits made from last year's crop.

The best time to cultivate Aus is the first three months on the Bangla calendar. In Sylhet, meteorological offices in Sylhet and Sreemangal registered record-breaking temperatures.

According to Sayed Ahmed Chowdhury (Meteorologist in Sylhet), the heat spell lasted for several weeks more and no rain was recorded during that period.

Farmer Ahmed Ali from Kulaura upazila, Moulvibazar said that the scorching heat was causing Aus saplings to dry up in his field.

Lalon Biswas from the same region said that his production costs increased due to continuous irrigation.

Abdur Rakib is a farmer from Dattagram village in Rajnagar upazila. He initially intended to plant Aus on 10 acres, but it rained so lightly that he was able to grow five acres. "But now, I am happy because the harvest has been great. It will be enough for my family."

Abdul Momin, Kulaura Upazila Agriculture Officer, stated that over-irrigating a field could do more harm than good. Satisfactory production can be achieved if irrigation occurs after sunset.

Photo by Mintu Dashwara

Undeveloped Aus grains are separated by wind in Mulvibazar's Kamolganj Upazila.