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Farmers support needed to expand cotton farming in Barind tract

Farmers support needed to expand cotton farming in Barind tract

Speakers at a daylong discussion urged the farmers and others concerned to expand cotton farming in the vast barind tract for
boosting up its production to meet up the country’s demand.They viewed prospect of boosting cotton production in the drought-prone barind region is bright as its topography and climatic
condition suitable for the cash crop.For the sake of best uses of the prospective scenario and as adaptive means of changed climatic condition, the farmers should come forward towards the farming so that they can gain more money from the cultivation side by side with meeting up the national demand.The observations came at a regional workshop titled “Prospect of Cotton Farming in Barind Tract and Extension Strategy” held at the conference hall of Barind Multipurpose Development Authority (BMDA) in Rajshahi metropolis on Sunday. Cotton Development Board (CDB) under its ‘Extensive Cotton Cultivation Programme’ organized the workshop.Abdul Mannan, MP, Member of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture, addressed the opening session as the chief guest with Dr Farid Uddin Ahmed, Executive Director of CDB, in the chair.Executive Director of BMDA Engineer Abdur Rashid, Additional Director of Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) SM Nuruzzaman Mondal and Deputy Director Dr Tasdikur Rahman spoke as special guests.The speakers viewed that the cotton production could be enhanced to a greater extent if necessary measures were adopted and due importance was given to the sector. Government attention is very much needed to proper exposure of the sector’s potentialities, they added.Considering the demand of the country’s textile industries, the local cotton growers can meet only a meager 3-5 percent of the annual demand and the rest is met through import.Lawmaker Abdul Mannan said there is an enormous prospect of boosting cotton production after the best uses of existing natural resources. Cotton Development Board has adopted a five-year project titled “Extensive Cotton Cultivation” considering importance of the sector and its further development.On successful implementation of the project, cotton production will be enhanced to around 8 to 10 lakh bales from the existing hardly one lakh bales annually in the country that will save foreign currency of around Taka 5 to 6 thousand crore per year.Besides, better quality edible oil and oil cake are manufactured from cotton seeds and cotton stalk is one of the best domestic fuels. As oil cake is highly enriched with protein and fat many people use it in cow fattening farm and fish farming for better outputs. Another byproduct of the cotton refining process is crude oil that used in soap and glycerin factory as raw material, he added.In his keynote presentation, Mostofa Kamal, Zonal Head of CDB, said acreage of the crop is gradually increasing in the region comprising Rajshahi, Naogaon, Natore and partly in Pabna for the last couple of years.Farmers have started replacing the paddy and sugarcane cultivation
lands with cotton farming because it requires less investment and less labour. Cotton farming is helpful towards enriching organic matter of the soil.Kamal told the workshop that around 2,000 hectares of land had been brought under cotton cultivation in the region last season. The farmers harvested 6,736 bales cotton from 1,408 hectares of arable land.Around 150 farmers, agriculturists, researchers and other officials and staffs concerned attended the workshop discussing ways and means of how to expand the cotton cultivation in the barind area comprising 25 upazilas of Rajshahi, Naogaon and Chapainawabgonj districts.- BSS, Rajshahi