Brridhan-48, a drought tolerant paddy variety innovated by Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI), has been gaining popularity among farmers in the region including its vast Barind tract for the last couple of years.
The newly innovated paddy variety has opened up a door of enormous prospects for food security along with mitigating the crises of irrigation water.
The variety has been giving satisfactory yield with scanty rainfall and limited irrigation during the Aush season in the area.
Various government and non-government development organizations are implementing projects to promote the variety in the Barind tract as effective means of addressing the adverse impact of climate change.
Barind Station of On-Farm Research Division (OFRD) under Bangladesh Agriculture Research Institute (BARI) arranges training in a bid to sensitize the farmers for the promotion of four crop-based cropping patterns in the Barind tract.
Dr Shakhawat Hossain, team leader of Barind Station, said there has been an enormous prospect of bringing harvesting intensity coupled with increasing food production through a successful promotion of the Aush-Aman-Lentil-Mungbean cropping pattern.
To maintain sound soil health, it could be advisable to grow rice especially Brridhan48 using a different system in order to improve compatibility between monsoon rice and upland winter crops.
This would also go well with a shift in economic importance of the winter crops over monsoon rice.
“We are arranging training and other motivational programmes for the farmers to adopt the cropping pattern to boost agricultural production through the best use of modern technologies to feed the gradually increasing population,” he added.
Terming the development of the drought-tolerant varieties a demand of the time, Dr Hossain said that the variety has started contributing a lot to ensure food security.
The variety would bring a positive result for around 2 million hectares of land in the rain-fed drought prone area alongside playing a vital role in boosting rice yield in the days ahead.
Sharing their experiences, two female farmers – Nasira Begum and Nadira Begum – told journalists that the Brridhan-48 variety has brought enormous benefit for them in cultivating rice in drought prone rainfed environment.
By virtue of early harvesting characteristics the variety supplements the farming of transplanted Aman and various Rabi crops like tomato, brinjal, mustard and vegetables as the region is conventionally famous for farming these crops abundantly.
They stated that it is a short duration and high yielding paddy and takes 100 to 110 days from cultivation to harvest.
Apart from this, taste and flavour of the variety is better and its market price is comparatively higher than many other varieties.
The declining rainfall coupled with increase in temperature due to the adverse impact of climate change has put the agriculture sector at a vulnerable condition.
So, promoting need-based varieties and technologies has become an urgent need to cope with the changed climatic condition to ensure food security of the country’s gradually increasing population, they added.
Agriculture Sustainable and Socioeconomic Development Organization (ASSEDO) provided seeds of Brridhan-48 to some 300 marginal farmers in Rajshahi and Chapainawabgonj districts free of cost, said Agriculturist Rabiul Alam, executive director of ASSEDO.
Promoting Food Security and Livelihoods of Marginalized People of Barind Tract (PFLMB) project supported the endeavor.
The initiative has been taken to increase agricultural production and income of marginalised and vulnerable families of the Barind tract by adapting to climate adaptive sustainable agricultural technologies, diversifying income generating activities and skill development, Rabiul added.