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Experts urge farmers to apply AWD irrigation technology

BSS . Rajshahi
13 May 2022 15:12:43 | Update: 13 May 2022 15:31:08
Experts urge farmers to apply AWD irrigation technology
— BSS File Photo

Agricultural experts have urged the grassroots farmers to apply the irrigation technology of Alternate Wetting and Drying (AWD) as it always saves 25 to 30 per cent water compared to the conventional ones.

They attributed that the AWD method helps save water in aquifers amidst an abnormal decline in the level of underground water in the vast Barind tract for the last couple of years.

The experts came up with the observation while addressing a farmers' field day on promotion of AWD technology in the Dangapara Shironti area of Sapahar upazila in Naogaon on Thursday.

DASCOH Foundation hosted the field day in association with its 'Introducing Water Efficient Technologies (IWET) Project’. More than 50 farmers joined the meeting and they were given knowledge on how to promote irrigation modern technology.

Upazila Agriculture Officer Shapla Khatun, Assistant Engineer of Barind Multipurpose Development Authority Rezaul Karim, Sub-Assistant Agriculture Officer Babul Hossain and IWET Project Manager Shohidul Islam addressed the meeting disseminating their expertise on the issue.

The meeting was told that water saving technology is vital to lessening pressure on groundwater. Main objective of the project is to enhance agro-water efficiency, reduce ground-water extraction and increase farmers' income.

Shohidul Islam said adoption of the method would result in a fivefold reduction in requirement for water and save 30 litres of diesel used for irrigation and produce an additional 500kg of paddy per hectare.

AWD is a water-saving technology that farmers can apply to reduce their irrigation water consumption in rice fields without decreasing its yield.

In AWD, irrigation water is applied a few days after the disappearance of the ponded water. Hence, the field gets alternately flooded and non-flooded.

The number of days of non-flooded soil between irrigations can vary from one to more than 10 days depending on the number of factors such as soil type, weather and crop growth stage.

The attending farmers were suggested to cultivate wheat instead of only Irri-Boro paddy in the drought-prone dry areas.

Shohidul said adoption of the irrigation method in Boro farming on a mass scale can reduce use of underground water by 30 per cent while simultaneously ensuring additional yield.

Groundwater levels in the Barind area have declined alarmingly due to the adverse impacts of climate change and excessive extraction.

“Every year, we have to irrigate over 7.52 lakh hectares of farming fields, including 2.61 lakh hectares of Irri-Boro land, in the region.

“For the purpose, we have to operate 14,090 power-driven deep tube wells,” Shohidul said, adding that irrigation there was dependent on groundwater.