Untimely flood and the resilience of Nayakrishi farmersUBINIG || Saturday 18 September 2021 ||
This is a report on the untumely flood of this year (2121) in the Nayakrishi Area of Delduar, Tangail. It shows that providing flood tolerant and flood resilient rice varieties through Nayakrishi Seed Network could be an effective strategy to cope with untimely flood by farming communities.
Eight unions of Delduar upazila low-lying areas are being on the bank of the mighty river Jamuna and Dhaleshwari. There are big beels (wetland). These beel areas come to the brim when there is flood. The farmers prefer deep water/floatting paddy varieties like chamara, laldigha, bhaoiladigha, patjak, sadadigha, etc. for cultivation. All the crops grow better when there is normal flood. There is crop variability after recession flood water. The farmers can make crop planning based on season.
According to farmers, flooding generally takes place in Ashar-Srabon (mid June-mid August). This year (2021) flood came late in middle of Bhadra (early September). Water level rose in the Jamuna, Dhaleshwari and the Alongjani rivers running throgh Tangail District. The vast areas of Atia, Silimpur, Pathrail, Lauhati and Delduar sadar unions of Delduar upazila were flooded.
Homestead areas of many farmers were inundated. Approach roads and schools were flooded. Now, the flood water is receding very slowly. Still in some lands there is 5-6 feet water. The farmers are facing untold suffering managing domestic animals- goat, cow, chicken and duck.
Resilient local variety of Aman
Aman paddy varieties traditionally preferred by farming communiy are many. Nayakrishi farmers usually prefers Chamara, Lal-bhawaila, Deshidigha, Bhawailadigha, Patgak and Sadadigha because they mostly fllod resistant. These varieties were 3-4 feet tall before the advent of flood water. The rain water was very helpful for growth of aman paddy. Up-until the middle Bhadra (end August) the farmers thought that there would be no flood. Then suddenly the flood water came. The aman paddy varieties were floating above water. Rather these varieties were growing fast with rising water. In some places the aman paddy plants were grown 4-6 feet tall. There is no risk of damage of aman paddy in flood, the farmers mentioned. Flood is very difficult to cope, but Nayakrishi farmers are keen on the resilient varieties as safegurd against climate climate change disaster.
However this is not true for farmers who are dependent on HYV or commercial seeds. Untimely flood has devastating effect on farmers who lost local varieties and developed dendence o commercial seed.
Bhawaliadigha, a flood-tolerant favourite local varierty of Aman standing strong in rising flood water. Such varieties are loved by farmers and remain in their collection of local varieties to deal climatic variaability and now the climate disasters caused by Green House gas. Seeds of four varieties of aman paddy from the Ridoypur Biddaghor of UBINIG were given among 20 farmers in Maushakatalia village. Among them, the aman paddy of 17 farmers was in good condition. Bhawaliadigha paddy will not have any problem even if the flood water rises up to 7-8 feet high.
Transplanted aman paddy
There was rain but the river was not full with water. The farmers thought that there might not be flood this year. There was some deep water aman paddy sown broadcast in high lands. These varieties perform better when there is enough water due to normal flood. The farmers had plowed down the standing plants of the deep water aman paddy, cleaned the field and transplanted short stem paddy varieties like BR-11, patishail, gutishorna, kalijira, lalshail, etc. The plants grew fast became dark green, tall up to 1-1.5 feet and were initiating panicle. Then suddenly the flood came and submerged the standing crops in the field. Most of the standing transplanted aman paddy varieties in the field were damaged. These plants were short and were damaged due to submergence.
Damage of Vegetables
Untimely floood damaged vegetables badly such as water gourd, hyacinth-bean and brinjal grown in the homestead. Such damage cause serious stress on the food and nutritional security at the household level, The seed bed of tomato, brinjal, cauliflower was also damaged. Brinjal, okra, riged gourd, sponge gourd and stem amaranth were damaged.
Farmers who are members of Nayakrishi Seed Net Work may collect new seeds from Community Seed Wealth Center. They are hoping that water will recede and they can geat ready for winter vegetables.
Damage to Community Seed Bed
Seedling of Nayakatra rice variety was given to five Nayakrishi farmers. These farmers were given seed for crop planting in the face of natural calamities (river erosion, flood, drought, water logging). The flood water came 20-22 days after transplanting the seedlings in the field. The plants were submerged 4-5 feet of flood water. There is no hope of saving these plants. The field is suitable for was deep water amon paddy, but when water quicy submerges the land abd recede slowly it is difficult for some varieties to survive. Farmers cound not anticipate that the sudden untimely flood could wash away there seedlings.
Flood water is good for deep water aman paddy varieties. So the farmers ploughed down the deep water aman paddy plants and transplanted the seedlings received from the community seed program suitabe for deep water varieties. The paddy varieties were damaged due to untimely flood.
Farmers’ perception about untimely flood
The local farmers said that the flood came suddenly and there is little hope of getting out easily. Generally, there is flood during Ashar-Srabon (mid June-mid August), but this year it came late in Bhadra (early September). Moreover, the canals and drains have been silted. Different sluice gates are also locked. The roads interconnecting different villages also block the out flow of water. There is need of drainage for saving crops, mentioned Mir Alam, a farmer.
Impact of untimely flood
The farmers face problems in crop planning due to the unpredictable, untimely flood. The farmers have to take quick decision matching the type of natural calamity. Long time standing flood will create problem planning winter vegetable production. However, the farmers are expecting good time for sowing seeds of mustard, wheat, grass-pea and barley. The farmers are expecting good environment for winter vegetables in the homestead area and such other high lands around.
Report by Rabiul Islam Chunnu
Ridoypur Biddaghor, Tangail