The government is expecting a bumper food grain production this year amid scarcity of fertiliser and low rainfall.The government has projected more than 1.60 crore tonnes of grain production during this spring and early summer crop seasons.
“We are expecting a bumper production of rice and wheat this year,” said State Minister for Agriculture Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir.
The minister told The News Today last Wednesday that 41.47 lakh hectares or half of the cultivable farmland have been cultivated with high-yielding varieties of Boro and IRRI rice and wheat this year.
The minister, hailed from Thakurgaon district, said the government may give Tk 500 crore as farm subsidy next year to help the farmers earn more profits. This year, Tk 300 crore has been allocated for farm subsidy.
“We need to support our farmers when they buy diesel, fertiliser, and machine and equipment,” Alamgir said adding imported fertiliser causes them some economic burden as prices of those are higher than locally manufactured fertiliser.
The minister said a second phase of Barind Multipurpose Development Project which has been implemented in Dinajpur, Thakurgaon and Panchagarh district –the food basket of Bangladesh – is helping farmers to get more production. Some 1,200 deep tube-wells are operating in those districts to irrigate around 20,000 hectares of farmland.
A scientist at the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council said the cropping intensity in Bangladesh has increased more than four times in less than two decades.
“Farmers now till their farms four times a year,” the scientist said adding the peasants get more returns on some unfamiliar items, such as maize and vegetables.
The minister said the land under Boro and IRRI cultivation is 15 per cent more than that of last year. “Naturally, yield will be higher this year.”
He, however, denied the scarcity of fertiliser in some parts of Bangladesh. “It is not true that there is scarcity of fertiliser... the price is little higher but farmers got it in the right time.” He said demand for Tripple Super Phosphate and other potassium based fertiliser that farmers needed during preparing their soil could not be estimated long ago.
“We have overcome the crisis by supplying some mixed fertiliser,” he claimed.
Meanwhile, a little rainfall in greater Rangpur, Dinajpur and Bogra district has also helped farmers a lot. A meteorology department official said on Wednesday that 18 March rainfall in Rangpur was recorded at 38 milli-meter while Bogra received 45 milli-meter rain and Dinajpur 11 milli-meter.