Farmers and others concerned, including agriculturists, are very much optimistic about the overall wheat production during the current season in the region particularly the vast Barind tract. Talking to this correspondent, they attributed that timely plantation of seeds accompanied by the current cold spell, is being considered as a positive sign for attaining bumper production of the cash crop.
Dr Ilias Hossain, Principal Scientific Officer of Regional Wheat Research Center (RWRC) said farmers of the Barind area were found more confident in wheat farming on more new lands, due to the water-stress condition, as wheat is a less-water consuming plant. Wheat Research Center has so far released 24 varieties of wheat for commercial cultivation. The recently released six varieties including prodip, bijoy, shatabdi and BARIGAM-26 are more tolerant to leaf blight and leaf rush-disease with additional advantage of higher yield, Dr Ilias added, reports BSS.
"We have developed projection plots on around 25 hectares of farmers' field in Barind area for boosting seed production of the latest varieties during the current season, besides various other motivational campaigns and training programs," he added. Farmers have cultivated wheat on around 1.78 lakh hectares of land against the target of 1.70 lakh hectares fixed by the Department of Agriculture Extension in eight districts in Rajshahi division showing enhancement of 105 percent than the target.
Fazlur Rahman, Additional Director of Department of Agriculture Extension, said wide-range promotion of the newly innovated variety could help increase wheat yield. He opined that there is no alternative to promoting modern technology and using high yielding wheat seeds to reduce dependency on food import to meet the internal demand. Wheat plays an important role to ensure food security as its consumption is increasing day by day. But, Bangladesh produces hardly 10 lakh metric tons of wheat against the demand of around 40 lakh tons annually, he stated.
Fazlur Rahman, however, said that Rajshahi division contributes 35 percent of the total area and 44 percent of the total production. Not only that, there are around 50,000 hectares of more rain fed land in the high barind area and there has been a bright prospect of bringing the huge land under wheat cultivation.
ATM Rafiqul Islam, Project Director (Agriculture) of Barind Multipurpose Development Authority, said substantial and sustainable expansion of wheat farming can mitigate the existing water-stress condition in the high Barind tract as wheat is an environment-friendly crop.