The government has, so far, procured around 9,572.87 tonnes of Aman rice during the current procurement drive contributing a lot towards ensuring food security amidst the pandemic situation.
As part of the nationwide ongoing Aman rice procurement drive, the government has procured the food grain from all eight districts in Rajshahi division.
Raihanul Kabir, regional controller of food, said that they procured around 9,244.52 tonnes of boiled rice and 328.35 tonnes of non-boiled sunned (Atap) rice till Thursday last.
He said that procurement drive of the newly harvested rice was going on in full-swing everywhere in the division that created a high hope of ensuring food security.
Kabir said that the government had set a target of procuring 1,54,632 tonnes of boiled rice and 11,648 tonnes of non-boiled sunned rice during the current season. Boiled rice is being procured at the rate of Tk 37 per kilogram while non-boiled rice at Tk 36 per kilogram.
Contracts have been signed with 879 millers for collecting 32,543.02 tonnes of boiled rice, while 26 other millers for supplying 1,706.24 tonnes of non-boiled rice.
Meanwhile, the farmers have harvested around 23.04 lakh tonnes of Transplanted Aman rice from 7.78 lakh hectares of land despite facing the adverse impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic and devastating flood situation in Rajshahi division.
The Department of Agriculture Extension had set the target of producing around 22.19 lakh tonnes of Aman rice from around 7.66 lakh hectares of land in all eight districts in the division during the current season.
But, amazingly, the enthusiastic farmers have brought more than 7.77 lakh hectares of land exceeding the target by 11,540 hectares braving the current pandemic and disastrous situations.
Sirajul Islam, additional director of the DAE, said the farmers are happy after pulling in a good yield of transplanted Aman in the region.
He said that the paddy farming had exceeded the target here significantly due to favourable weather along with frequent rainfall that contributed a lot towards successful completion of Aman seedlings transplantation on time.
Nazmul Hossain, 47, a farmer of Gohomabona village under Paba upazila, said that he got around six tonnes yield of Brri Dhan-75 variety per hectare of land this season.
Another farmer Jahangir Alam, 54, of Bhujail village under Nachole upazila has achieved yield from 5.5 to six tonnes of Brri Dhan-51 per hectare on an average.
Measures with initiative of both public and private sectors were taken to ensure supplementary irrigation to the paddy fields from the surface water resources if needed.
Alam said farmers face a great water crisis in panicle initiation and pre-ripening stages of the farming that needs supplementary irrigation on an urgent basis due to rain-less conditions almost every year.
But, fortunately, the farmers didn’t face any adverse situation. Surface water resources were also enriched through excavating a canal to ensure supplementary irrigation to transplanted Aman paddy, over 40,000 hectares of land in high Barind tract, said Jahangir Alam Khan, coordinator of Integrated Water Resource Management project.
Bangladesh Rice Research Institute has released seven modern paddy varieties of the Aman paddy for the welfare of common farmers in the region particularly in its vast Barind tract, said Fazlul Islam, principal scientific officer of BRRI.
The varieties are comparatively high yielding, drought tolerant and short duration than local variety ‘Swarna’ which is prone to various diseases and insects always affect the paddy.
Islam said that farmers had been encouraged to cultivate the latest varieties through various interventions including block demonstration, plots projection and supplying of seed free of cost.
He also said that the modern varieties opened up doors of enormous prospects of food security along with mitigating the crises of irrigation water.
Parija and Swarna varieties are being replaced by some of the developed varieties that can boost the Aman output, Islam also mentioned.