Betel leaf farmers in Hakimpur upazila of Dinajpur district and neighboring Panchbibi upazila of Joypurhat, whose crops were massivly damaged in the flood a month ago, are passing busy time at their betel gardens to overcome the losses.
According to Mahbubur Rahman of the Department of Agriculture Extension in the district, betel leaf is grown on around 45 hectares of land. Growers said that most betel leaf plants planted on lowland areas were damaged badly in the flood following three days of rain in August, but there was less damage in highland areas.
"Betel leaf plants usually can't survive if they remain under water for two or three days," said Sachin Chandra Roy of Shalua village in Panchbibi upazila. Besides, the leaves inside the boroj (a structure to grow betel leaves on) were also damaged badly, he added.
He planted betel leaf on 50 decimals of land this year, but most of the plants died in the floodwater. The structures in almost all the betel leaf enclosures were badly damaged, said Sultan Mahmud of Basudevpur village under Hakimpur upazila. During a visit to the affected places recently, this correspondent found that the growers were busy trying to recover from the losses caused by the flood. Anisur Rahman of Chechra village in Panchbibi upazila of Joypurhat said he has been growing betel leaf for around 25 years, but he never saw such massive damage in his life.
"I spent around Tk 10,000 extra for repairing the boroj," he said. Many farmers in these areas said they could not repair their boroj as they do not have enough money. They appealed to the government for monetary help so that they can overcome the losses. This correspondent saw that betel leaf growers were engaging all their family members for taking care of the plants to save labour cost.
-AA Correspondent, Dinajpur
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