The prevailing drought is taking its toll on the cultivation of 'aman' crop across the country, agriculture officials said.
They also expressed the fear that the country's aman output this year would face a setback if the prevailing situation prolonged.
Farmers in many parts of the country, especially the northern regions, have been facing serious difficulties in transplanting their aman seedlings mainly due to insufficient monsoon rains, a senior officials of the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) said.
Besides, an inadequate supply of electricity and higher prices of fuel oils are making the irrigation activities difficult for the farmers in general, according to agriculturists.
But farmers, especially the marginal ones, have to bear the brunt of such higher irrigation costs due to the poor monsoon rains.
According to the met office, the country experienced a 20 per cent less rainfall on an average than the normal level during the last July alone.
The Dhaka Met office, however, forecasts normal rainfall in the days ahead.
Terming the drought prevailing in the country's northern areas - the major rice-growing zone -- worse than many other parts, meteorologist Md. Shadekul Alam told the FE.
He said five districts under Rajshahi Division experienced the highest 44 per cent less rainfall than the normal level, followed by Sylhet region with 38 per cent, Dhaka with 24 per cent and Barishal with 17.5 per cent -- lower than the level.
On the other hand, the monsoon rain in Khulna region was 34 per cent more than the normal level, Alam said.
"Usually, a 10 per cent up and down in the monsoon rainfall is considered as a normal phenomenon" Alam said.
Although some farmers are trying to cultivate their crops through irrigation, it is pushing the overall cropping cost significantly up, according to agriculturists.
Sources at the DAE's Field Service Wing said, nearly 60 per cent of the total aman cultivable land is yet to come under transplantation.
Besides, the condition of the most cultivated crops is not 'satisfactory' because of the prolonged drought.
Over 5.2 million hectares of land have been targeted for aman cultivation this season, a DAE official said.
Agriculturists feared that the overall aman cultivation target might not be achieved this year if the current calamity persisted for a longer period. As a result, the country is unlikely to achieve the aman production target in the current season.
The total aman output has been fixed at 12.20 million tonnes for the ongoing cropping season, according to the DAE.
Sources, however, said any setback to the aman cultivation, the country's second largest crop after 'boro', might be below its overall serial output in the current fiscal year.
According to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, the country's aman production was 1.08 million tonnes last year with its total rice output reaching 2.62 million.