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Boro appears as new livelihood to recoup AILA disaster

KHULNA: Boro paddy farming virtually appeared as a new livelihood for farmers in remote Koyra upazila of the district, gradually recouping the devastation of the 2009 AILA cyclone that visibly made the area unsuitable for green agriculture for good, reports BSS.
Farmers said they waited for years expecting the land to regain fertility for crops overcoming wraths of increased salinity caused by the cyclone nine years ago.
“We can’t even regain the cost of seedbeds of rice like aman and boro a year ago because of the permanent salinity (caused by AILA),” said farmer Sohrab Hossain, a resident of the Zorsing village under the upazila.
He said the situation prompted him to cultivate Boro on 6 acres of land last year which appeared as a good initiative in terms of financial returns.
“One can easily earn Tk 1.5 lakh by cultivating Boro paddy on every one acre of land every year,” he said.
On May 25, 2009 night, the AILA hit a vast part of south-western Khulna with Koira among the worst affected areas. It claimed around 200 human lives, leveled thousands of homesteads, killed huge number of cattle and exposed landmass to inundation in saline waters for nearly five years.
Hundreds of people were forced to desert their homes for years and make them jobless as the cyclone made the land unsuitable for crop cultivation.
Under a massive government-led rehabilitation campaign, the people returned and rebuilt their homes in the subsequent years but their livelihood remained to be at stake because of the unusual salinity in the region.
“I have been cultivating Boro paddy with tiger shrimp (Bagda Chingri) on saline lands for the last two years and getting satisfactory profits . . . last year I earned Tk 6 lakh from Boro cultivation and I am expecting more dividend this year,” said 65-year-old Habibur Rahman Dhali, another resident in the neighbourhood.
Koyra upazila agriculture officer S M Mizan Mahmud said farmers now took interest in boro cultivation at Koyra as “it grows now in better volume on lower saline-prone land”.
He said the scenario prompted the agriculture department to provide them with training for boro cultivation in saline-prone land.
He, however, said 35,250 bighas of land are now brought under boro cultivation in Koyra while the boro was cultivated in less than 5,000 bighas last year.

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