The cultivation of wheat is on the decline in Rangpur agriculture region during this current season.
The Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE), Rangpur official sources said wheat has been cultivated on around 18,726 hectares of land in five districts under the region this season against its target of farming on 22,050 hectares of land. The districts are Rangpur, Kurigram, Lalmonirhat, Nilphamari and Gaibandha.
Sources alleged that the growers under the region are showing their unwillingness in cultivating the crop owing to different reasons including short duration of winter, high production cost against low yield compared to some other crops.
A number of cultivators told this correspondent they get more profit from the farming of potato, different vegetables, mustard and chilli than the cultivation of wheat during Rabi season. As a result growers are not getting interested in wheat farming, they said.
Alamgir Hossain, a cultivator of Mirzapur village at Mithapukur upazila in Rangpur district said that several years ago he used to cultivate wheat but did not get expected profit in comparison with some other Rabi crops.
For the last two years he has been cultivating maize instead of wheat and earning satisfactory profit. Witnessing his success many growers of his area are getting reluctant to cultivate wheat and are showing their eagerness of farming maize and mustard, he said.
Some growers said that they prefer maize farming to wheat as yield of maize is higher than that of wheat. Around 75 to 80 maunds of maize can be harvested from one acre of land spending Tk 18,000 to Tk 19,000.
On the other hand, only 25 to 27 maunds of wheat can be harvested from the same area. Its production cost is also higher, which is around Tk 15,000 to Tk 16,000, growers added.
Deputy Director of DAE, Rangpur region Md. Moniruzzaman said due to various reasons including shorter winter season growers are not showing their interest in wheat farming.
Scientists at Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) are working hard to develop new variety of wheat like heat-tolerant and high-yielding variety, he added.