Dhaka, Bangladesh
Facing onslaught of cold wave

Editorial

Facing onslaught of cold wave

Bangladesh should brace itself to face cold wave coupled with dense fog that has been sweeping the country since January 4 as it might affect different seasonal crops and Boro seedlings. Dense fog and severe cold wave can potentially hamper the growth of different crops, including Boro seedlings. Boro seedlings can turn yellow and subsequently die in severe cold weather. Mustard, lentil and grass pea can be attacked by fungus during severe cold, tomatoes and potato may be affected by late blight diseases, battle leaf may fall and mango flower may get damaged during a cold wave. If the current cold waves continue for 10-12 days it can affect crops, but the farmers can save their crops through different early measure. The government is providing support to the farmers through their field officers to help them save their crops from damage. Farmers should protect their seedlings from the cold by covering those with polythene in the daytime to increase temperature, but open at night. Boro seedling may turn yellow due to severe cold wave and fog and the farmers need to water the seedlings to protect them from damage. Farmers in the haor areas are facing difficulties in growing Boro seedlings during this cold weather. If the intensity of the cold wave increases it will badly affect the crop output, agricultural experts have said. The country may witnesses another one or two spells of severe cold spell this month, the Met office has predicted earlier. That climate change is impacting on agricultural production of coastal districts negatively is apparent from Koyra upazila under Khulna district. About 18 per cent of Rabi and 9 per cent of Kharif crops are highly vulnerable to drought and this adverse effect will increase over time due to climate change. T. Aman a highly suitable crop in the two districts would be reduced to about only 40 percent area with sea level rise. On the other hand, the Boro suitable area will decrease from 46 per cent to 6 per cent. Due to rising sea level, saline water intrusion has crossed its historical limit and affected fresh water sources making drinking water a scarce resource. Livestock rearing has also experienced a drastic fall. Height of daily tides also increased due to sea level rise magnifying the effects of salinity intrusion. In Khulna salinity is detectable even in water supply system of the city. Many people store rainwater during monsoon in port city Chittagong as the supply water has also high level of salinity. People cannot rear chicken or cattle due to high level of salinity in water and soil. That is why they raise salinity tolerant ducks only. However, there are some more positive changes that people are making in their lives. But that is not sufficient for survival. They need intensive institutional support for adaptation.

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