Farmers reaping benefits of AWD irrigation

Farmers reaping benefits of AWD irrigation

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The farmers have started reaping benefits of the Alternate Drying and Wetting (AWD) irrigation technology saving huge underground water for irrigation to Boro fields also enhancing rice yield for food security.Following massive awareness building and technology dissemination activities being conducted by various agriculture related departments and organisations, the simplest and lowest cost AWD technology has now been becoming popular among farmers.As a result, thousands of farmers of the northern districts adopted the technology while cultivating Boro rice during this season reducing lifting and use of underground water to increase rice production by lowering irrigation cost by 30 up to percent.According to the experts, lifting of underground water must be reduced to the minimum as future of agriculture depends on availability of water amid formidable threat of climate change that poses a real threat globally to keep food production rate intact.Talking to BSS, Associate Director- Agriculture of BRAC International (South Asia & Africa) Dr M A Mazid narrated the AWD method and suggested for large-scale adoption of the simplest and effective technology to cope with scarcity of irrigation water.He said adoption of the technology can reduce 5 numbers of irrigation, save minimum 30 percent underground water, 30 litres diesel and electricity for irrigation in addition to producing 500 kg more Boro rice per hectare bringing uncountable benefits.“Due to climate change impacts, the agriculture sector has been facing severe threat,” he said and favoured for crop zoning to cultivate more irrigation water consuming crop in the southern zones and less water consuming crop in the drought-prone northern zones.Consultant of International Rice Research Institute in Bangladesh Dr MG Neogi, an environmentalist, said farmers generally consume 3,000 to 5,000 litres irrigated waters to produce one kg Boro rice, whereas it needs only 1,500 to 2,000 litres when AWD used.“The underground water reserve must be saved to use the same for the longest period and the consequences could not be even thought when the reserve ends in future for its indiscriminate lifting now for irrigation purposes,” he added.Agriculture and Environment Coordinator of RDRS Bangladesh, a reputed NGO, Mamunur Rashid said mass adoption of AWD can largely help maintaining ecology, environment and bio-diversity amid climate change.While elaborating the AWD technology, he said the simplest technology determines irrigation times in Boro fields and it requires only a 7 to 10 cm diameter and 25 cm long PVC pipe or hollow bamboo pieces or even waste bottles of cold drinks.Fifteen cm on one side of the pipe is perforated for horizontal movement of water and it is to be installed vertically with its perforated portion under the ground level and the soil within it is to be scooped out to make the soil at the pipe’s lower end visible.He said the farmers should irrigate Boro fields in such a way that water does not overtop the imperforated portion and watch leaching down of water through the pipe and irrigate when soil at bottom of the pipe is visible with no water standing on soil hat.Horticulture Specialist of the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) Khondker Md Mesbahul Islam said that the AWD irrigation technology has been becoming popular among the farmers in the northern districts in recent years.“A total of 1.02 lakh farmers of five districts under Rangpur Agriculture Region alone have been benefited by cultivating Boro rice on their 31,120 hectares land to increase rice output at lower costs reducing use of irrigation water substantially this season,” he added.According to the experts, reserve of the underground waters would remain less affected for many decades and be filled in more during the rainy seasons reducing its abnormal lowering, arsenic contamination to make the planet long lasting.Besides, the country would be benefited by about Taka 7,200 crore annually for reduced irrigation, electricity and fuel costs and increased rice yield saving huge underground water if the technology was adopted for farming Boro rice, they said. -BSS, Rangpur

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