Tobacco cultivation continues in Rangpur region

Tobacco cultivation continues in Rangpur region

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Cultivation of tobacco still continues at larger scale following its high price and lucrative incentives being provided by the tobacco companies alluring the farmers in farming the crop almost everywhere in Rangpur region.Despite various initiatives taken by the government for discouraging tobacco farming, cultivation of the crop still remains popular among the farmers as they get better price of the produce from tobacco companies to earn more profit than cultivating other crops.Meanwhile, the farmers are expecting bumper production of tobacco this season as they have been continuing its harvest in full swing with excellent yield rate now in Rangpur Agriculture Region, farmers and official sources said.The harvesting process will continue till the end of the next month, Horticulture Specialist of the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) Khondker Md Mesbahul Islam said today.The farmers have cultivated the crop in vast tracts of fertile land this season after getting repeated bumper productions and excellent price in the previous seasons with lucrative assistance extended to them by tobacco companies.According to the DAE sources, tobacco cultivation did not increase during the current 2014-2015 seasons as the farmers have cultivated the crop on 18,305 hectares land this time against 19,057 hectares of the previous 2013-2014 seasons in the region.The farmers had cultivated tobacco on 21,732 hectares land during 2007-2008 seasons, 27,068 hectares during 2008-2009 seasons, 33,049 hectares during 2009-2010 seasons, 19,040 during 2010-2011 seasons, 12,665 hectares during 2011-2012 seasons and 17,793 hectares during 2012-2013 seasons in five districts under Rangpur Agriculture Region.This season, the farmers have cultivated tobacco on 2,130 hectares in Rangpur, 11,500 hectares in Lalmonirhat, 285 hectares in Gaibandha, five hectares in Kurigram, 4,385 hectares in Nilphamari districts under Rangpur region, the sources said.Besides, the riverside and char people have cultivated tobacco on vast tracts of the char lands and dried up beds of the Teesta, Brahmaputra, Dharla, Ghaghot and other riverbeds in the region this season, local sources said.Talking to BSS, farmers Echahaq Ali, Ayub Ali and Abdul Khaleque of Kathihara village here said they have cultivated tobacco on one to three acres land this season and expecting bumper production of the crop to earn a net profit of Taka 70,000 per acre.Talking to BSS, renowned rice scientist and Associate Director (Agriculture) of BRAC International (South Asia & Africa) Dr M A Mazid said tobacco farming still poses threat to cereal crop production, national food security as well as human and soil health.He suggested for more effective steps to discourage tobacco farming as the farmers could earn more profits through cultivating wheat, sugarcane, hybrid variety mustard and other winter crops in relay methods with other crops using the latest technologies.Agriculture and Environment Coordinator of RDRS Bangladesh Mamunur Rashid said tobacco companies have been inspiring the farmers in farming tobacco without informing them about its harmful impacts to the soil, environment and human health. -BSS, Rangpur

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