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Fish, cattle and agricultural farmers need recovery support in flood-hit Rangpur region

25 June 2022

The recent floods in northern Bangladesh are now affecting farmers in five districts of the greater Rangpur region as significant amounts of land in the economically disadvantaged area have gone underwater. Local fish and cattle farmers are the worst affected but growers of agricultural products are suffering all the same. Losses in the agricultural sector are lesser though as there are no major crops in the field at this time.
Rising water levels in all rivers, including Brahmaputra, Teesta, Dharla, Dudkumar and Ghagat, in Rangpur, Lalmonirhat, Kurigram, Nilphamari, and Gaibandha have resulted in the inundation of vast swathes of land. The flooding is a significant concern for people in these districts as the agricultural, fish, and cattle farming sectors play significant roles in the local economy as these districts lack heavy industries.
Fish farmers got the worst, with the sector registering losses of Tk 4.65 crore so far. However, the situation could be manageable if there is no more rainfall ahead. There are around 1.30 lakh fish farmers in the five affected districts. As per data from the fisheries department, fish in 1,920 commercial ponds in the affected districts have been washed away by the recent floods as of Wednesday. This includes around 320 tonnes of different fish and roughly 55 lakh fish fry, ramping up losses of Tk 4.65 crore as of Wednesday. Kurigram is the worst affected as fish from more than 1,000 ponds have been washed away.
The local livestock industry is likely to suffer similar losses as the pre-existing cattle feed crisis in the affected districts has deepened due to the current situation. Cattle feed, such as grass and paddy residue, worth Tk 24 lakh has been damaged by the floods in the affected districts. Livestock, poultry, and farmlands were affected by the floods that may spell food insecurity amid the global economic instability. The agricultural ministry and local administration should gear up their awareness campaign and recovery support thus farmers recover their losses quickly.

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