Farmers switch to cereals from paddy in Barind

Farmers switch to cereals from paddy in Barind

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In the wake of adverse impact of climate change, farmers have started switching to cereals from paddy with new technology and seed in the vast barind tract.
According to the agriculture officials and scientists, the farmers reduced the cultivation of irrigation-dependent crop especially irri-boro paddy in the barind tract, commonly known as food storage of the country. As a result, the acreage of various crops and cereals like wheat, maize, chickpea and black gram is increasing gradually in the drought-prone barind tract comprising 25 upazilas of Rajshahi, Chapainawabgonj and Naogaon districts.“In many occasions, we are motivating the farmers to promote various cereal crops instead of only paddy in the current water-stress condition, said Engineer Ahsan Jakir, Executive Director of Barind Multipurpose Development Authority. Dr Israil Hossain, Principal Scientific Officer of Regional Wheat
Research Station, said around 3,500 liters of water is needed to produce one kilogram of paddy as irrigation. Whereas, less than 1000 liters of water is required for the drought-tolerant varieties. Not only that, at least 15 bigha of wheat can easily be cultivated on one bigha of paddy cultivation with equal irrigation.Dr Hossain suggested development and dissemination of appropriate farm machinery like power tiller operated seeder, strip till and zero till, bed planter, reaper and thresher to enhance the farm production especially wheat.Agriculturist Abu Muhammad Musha said the continuous paddy farming in the barind tract may face an acute crisis of water.  So, more importance should be given on the cereal crops which need less-irrigation.
Saleh Ahmed, Paba Upazila Agriculture Officer, told BSS that irrigation water has been reduced to a greater extent in the barind area that declines farming of transplanted aman. Irri-boro farming is totally irrigation dependent.To address the problem, the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE)
has taken initiative to bring two drought-tolerant paddy varieties. He said preparation to bring BRRIDHAN-56 and BRRIDHAN-57 is underway.
Life span of BRRIDHAN-57, a short duration and drought tolerant variety, is 10 days less than that of BINADHAN-7, an early and high yielding variety, while 15 days less than BRIDHAN-33.After a long journey of research, the regional station of Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) has developed the two drought tolerant rice varieties for the farmers of the region’s drought-prone area for the first time in the county.This variety will give satisfactory yield with scanty rainfall without any irrigation during the rain-fed transplanted Aman season in the drought-prone area. Saleh mentioned that average yield of the BRRIDHAN-56 variety is 4.03 tonnes per hectare, while it is 3.74 tonnes from the BRRIDHAN-57 variety.
Nurul Amin, Deputy Director of DAE, Rajshahi, hoped that the varieties 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 to come.Terming the development of the drought-tolerant varieties as the demand of time, he expected that the new varieties would contribute a lot to ensure food security.BSS, Rajshahi

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