A farmer is showing AWF in his paddy field. -AA
The Alternate Drying and Wetting (AWD) irrigation technology has been becoming popular in Rangpur agriculture region saving huge underground water in irrigating Boro fields in recent years.
"The farmers are reaping benefits of the AWD technology following a massive dissemination of the system by different agriculture related organizations," said former chief scientific officer of Bangladesh Rice Research Institute Dr MA Mazid.
According to him, lifting of underground water must be reduced to the minimum as future of agriculture depends on availability of water amid a formidable threat of climate change for keeping food production rate intact. "If the method was adopted for farming Boro rice on 48 lakh hectares of land in the country, 24 lakh tonnes additional paddy worth Taka 5,000 crore would be produced annually along with saving Taka 800 crore for less use of diesel and electricity," he said.
Talking to BSS, knowledge management and communication specialist of the climate resilient agriculture and food security project of World Bank Dr MG Neogi narrated the simplest and effective AWD irrigation method.
He said adoption of the technology could reduce 5 numbers of irrigation, save minimum 30 per cent underground water, 30 litres diesel and electricity for irrigation in addition to producing 500 kg more Boro rice per hectare, reports BSS. "Due to climate change, the agriculture sector faces severe threat," he said and favored 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.
MG Neogi said, "The farmers generally use 3,000 to 4,000 litres irrigated underground waters to produce one kg Boro rice, whereas it needs only 1,500 to 2,000 litres when the AWD used." Regional Farm Broadcasting Officer of Agriculture Information Service Abu Sayem said, "The AWD 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.
"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," he added.
Horticulture specialist of the DAE Khondker Mesbahul Islam said the AWD irrigation technology has been becoming popular among farmers in Rangpur. "About two lakh farmers of the region have been using the AWD irrigation technology in cultivating Boro rice on their 85,708 hectares of land to increase rice output reducing use of irrigation water this season," he added.