As rising 'heat shocks' ruin rice crops, Bangladesh faces hunger risk


The heat stress - caused by a mix of high temperatures, low rainfall and low humidity - ruined thousands of hectares of crops this spring

Standing in his paddy field in northeast Bangladesh, Shafiqul Islam Talukder holds a handful of empty stalks - all chaff, with no rice grains.

Two days of sudden, intensely hot air that swept across the country in April disrupted the rice's growth, destroying the crop his family was supposed to survive the year on, the 45-year-old farmer from Kishoreganj district explained.

"The same thing happened to the adjacent field of mine. My dream crop is finished," he said with tears in his eyes.

"I can't think of how to support the family for a whole year. I invested my savings and planted five hectares (12 acres) of high-yielding rice. Now it's all over."

The heat stress - caused by a mix of high temperatures, low rainfall and low humidity - ruined thousands of hectares of crops in Bangladesh's main rice-growing region this spring, with climate experts warning the phenomenon could threaten food supplies.