Unusually large spring tides, caused by full moon in the last four days, inundated and damaged nearly Tk 1.50 crore worth of watermelon on about 100 hectares of cropland in Galachipa upazila.
The damage was inflicted on over a hundred farmers who cultivated the crop in Pakhshiya and Charkhali areas, which are outside the embankment of the Buragouranga river.
Watermelon grower Nur Jamal Matabbar, from Pakhshiya village, said he spent Tk 1.50 lakh to cultivate the fruit on 2.5 acres of land this year.
The yield so far had been great and the prices at markets were also good. But when the unexpected tidal waters from the Buragouranga river flooded the fields, he hardly had any chance to save any of the produce, Nur Jamal added.
Abdul Jalil Hawladar, another watermelon farmer from Uttar Charkhali village, broke down in tears when this correspondent was taking photos of the devastation in his field.
He kept wading through the water and picking up one spoilt watermelon after another. “It’s a total disaster,” he said sobbing.
“I cultivated watermelon on 2.50 acres of land, spending about Tk 1.50 lakh. All of the money was loaned from NGOs and relatives. The watermelons, worth about Tk 5 lakh, would be ready for harvest next week. But on last Wednesday afternoon, the tidal water destroyed it all.
“Now I’m worried about how to repay the debts,” Jalil lamented.
ARM Saifullah, Department of Agricultural Extension officer in Galachipa upazila, said according to their estimates, about Tk 1.50 crore worth of watermelon, cultivated on 100 hectares of land outside the coverage area of the levee, has been damaged by the high tides.
The crop has been cultivated on 5,000 hectares of land in the upazila this year, with a targeted sale totalling around Tk 300 crore, he also said.