Farmers in Rajshahi cultivate garlic as they are getting bumper production and fair price of the cash crops Dhaka Tribune
Target has been set to produce around 2.63 lakh tons of garlic from 31,260 hectares of land in four districts under Rajshahi Agricultural Zone, while another 1.27 lakh tons from 14,957 hectares of land in four other districts under Bogra Agricultural Zone
The Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) and the farmers are optimistic of bumper output of garlic this season in the Barind tract of Rajshahi.
The DAE is expecting more than 3, 89,000 tons of garlic output this season due to favorable weather conditions in the region. The saplings of the spice are growing well, and bumper production is predicted from around 46,117 hectares of land in all eight districts of Rajshahi division during the current season.
Target has been set to produce around 2.63 lakh tons of garlic from 31,260 hectares of land in four districts under Rajshahi Agricultural Zone, while another 1.27 lakh tons from 14,957 hectares of land in four other districts under Bogra Agricultural Zone.
Additional Director of the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) Sirajul Islam said all possible measures were adopted to attain the production target in the region this season.
He said farmers here are showing interest in garlic farming as they are getting bumper production and fair prices for the cash crops using an eco-friendly method.
Now, he said, the farmers are passing very busy days in garlic cultivation and they are expecting bumper production of garlic this year due to favourable weather.
Azhar Ali, a farmer of Halidagachhi village under Charghat upazila, had cultivated garlic on a 30-decimal land using the zero tillage method on trial basis in 2018 and he got a bumper yield. He cultivated the cash crop on three bigha of land, following the year.
After spending Tk 5,400 in garlic farming, Ali got sale-proceeds worth Tk 1.20 lakh and he earned a profit of Tk 65,000 in 2019, which inspired him to boost the farming to six bigha of arable land this year.
Afaz Uddin, a garlic farmer of Shilmaria village in Puthia upazila, said they used to cultivate garlic after digging the land in the past. However, now many farmers have started garlic cultivation without digging the land.
Farmers will be able to achieve bumper production of garlic if the weather remains favourable.
He said the direct-seeded garlic cultivation is gaining popularity among farmers in Rajshahi region, including its vast Barind and Chalan Beel areas, supplementing the ongoing efforts of reducing pressure on soil and underground water.
Abdus Sabur, another farmer of Panchandar village in Tanore upazila, said that he incurred losses during the last few years by producing tomatoes and other vegetables and rice. “However, we get handsome returns from garlic and onion,” he said.
Dr Hameem Reza, Chief Scientific Officer of Spice Research Centre, said farmers are now showing more interest in the method of zero tillage garlic farming just after harvesting their transplanted Aman paddy.
Residual values of chemical and organic fertilizers and soil moisture of the paddy fields help the garlic farming enormously, he said.
Dr Reza said adoption of large-scale zero tillage methods for sowing seed is very effective towards increasing production of garlic by saving costs of labour, irrigation, and insecticides.
He said many government and non-government development entities are working for further promotion of water-saving crops in the Barind area while the zero tillage garlic farming opens up a new door.
Lucrative market price of garlic has also encouraged the farmers to grow the cash crop this winter, the scientist said.
Under a project titled, ‘Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM),’ around 1,500 volunteers are working in the Barind region to motivate farmers to use water-saving crops like wheat, maize, pulses, spices, and vegetables.
IWRM Project Coordinator Jahangir Alam Khan said the IWRM project is being implemented in 39 Union Parishads and three Pourashava in Rajshahi, Naogaon, and Chapainawabganj districts since 2015.
A good number of female farmers have been involved with the farming. The peasants have been given short- term training from agriculture offices across the region, he added.