Farmers have harvested around 4.81 lakh tonnes of wheat in Rajshahi division supplementing the government efforts of ensuring food security amid the present adverse impact of COVID-19 pandemic.

The farmers got the wheat yield from about 1.32 lakh hectares of land in all eight districts under the division during the recent past harvesting season.

According to the official sources of the Department of Agriculture Extension, the growers were seen delighted while they got good yield as a result of favourable climatic conditions in the region, including its vast Barind tract.

This season, they are also getting a fair price of their production in the present pandemic situation.

Muktar Ali, 42, a farmer of Hatibandha village under Godagari upazila, had cultivated wheat on three bighas of land and got 14 mounds of yield from per bigha of land.

He is happy over the obtained yield. He said many of his co-villagers have harvested 14 to 16 mounds of wheat and most of them are happy over this year’s yield as they cultivated high-yielding varieties.

Ali continued that many farmers are getting three to four mounds more wheat from per bigha of land this season in comparison to the previous season.

‘Acreage of wheat farming has been enhanced to a greater extent in the Barind area in recent years as the farmers are getting profit from the food grain farming,’ said Atanu Sarker, sub-assistant agriculture officer.

He said timely sowing of seeds accompanied by the cold spell, has been considered as a positive sign for attaining a bumper production of the cash crop.

The DAE has disbursed seeds and fertilizers free of cost among 36,500 flood-affected farmers for wheat farming under the government’s ‘Agricultural Incentive Programme’ so that they can recoup their losses caused by the flood in the division, said Sirajul Islam, additional director of the DAE.

Besides, the department has distributed seeds and fertilisers free of cost among 23,000 other poor and marginal farmers for wheat farming under the government’s ‘Agricultural Incentive Programme’ in the division.

Rajshahi regional office of Bangladesh Wheat and Maize Research Institute had developed 320 demonstration plots on farmers’ fields.

Ilias Hossain, principal scientific officer of BWMRI, said that they were promoting some high yielding, heat and drought tolerant and blast disease resistant varieties like Barigom 28, 29, 30 and 33 among the farmers.

The Barigom 33 is the ever latest variety which is blast disease resistant, zinc-enriched, large grain size and high yielding (20 maunds per bigha), he added.

Various other government and non-government entities adopted diversified steps to make farming a total success in the region as it is suitable for the crop for its water-saving and drought tolerant features.

Barind Multipurpose Development Authority, an ever-largest irrigation providing state-run organisation in the country’s northwest region, has ensured necessary irrigation to make the wheat farming a total success.

More than 12.58 lakh community people of 2.66 lakh households are being motivated towards promoting wheat like water-saving crops with intervention of the ‘Integrated Water Resource Management’ Project.

The project is being implemented by DASCOH Foundation in around 1,280 drought-hit villages under 39 union parishads and three municipalities of eight upazilas in Rajshahi, Naogaon and Chapainawabganj districts since 2015, said Jahangir Alam Khan, coordinator of IWRM project.

He, however, said successful promotion of less-water consuming crops in the Barind area would play a vital role to lessen the gradually mounting pressure on its underground water.

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