Agriculturalists and farmers in Rangpur region are happy over the bumper production of pulses and fair prices of the crop.
According to local sources, the farmers have produced around 4,000 tonnes of pulses of different varieties in all five districts in the region this Rabi season.
Officials of the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) said, some3,325 hectares of land were brought under crop farming fixing the target of producing 5,051 tonnes of six varieties of pulse in five districts- Rangpur, Kurigram, Lalmonirhat, Gaibandha and Nilphamari districts of the region.
The production target included 2,128 tonnes of lentil from 1,258 hectares of land, 2,270 tonnes of Khesari from 1,630 hectares, 72 tonnes of Arhar from 67 hectares, 156 tonnes of Gram from 77 hectares, 393 tonnes of Mungbean from 293 hectares and 32 tonnes of Cowpea from 22 hectares of land.
The farmers became able to cultivate lentils on 1,058 hectares of land, ‘Khesari’ on 1,515 hectares, Arhar on 50 hectares, Gram on 37 hectares, Mungbean on 221 hectares and Cowpea on 13 hectares of land in the region.
The farmers could achieve a total of 4,043 tonnes of pulses against the fixed production target of 5,051 tonnes of these varieties of pulses after completing the harvest.
Additional Director of the DAE for Rangpur region, Agriculturist Md Aftab Hossain said, the farmers became able to bring 2,890 hectares of land under crop cultivation which is 435 hectares less than the cropping target by the department.
The farmers could not achieve the fixed farming target of pulses due to crop diversification and cultivation of maize, chilli and vegetables in the lands of the region.
Pulse is a short-term crop which can be harvested within two and half months of cultivation spending a little amount of money. About seventy per cent of land is suitable for crop farming in the region.
The DAE and other organisations offered training, technologies and input support to the farmers to make the pulse farming program a success.
The organization also distributed high-quality seeds of Lentil, Mung-bean and Khesari varieties of pulses and fertilisers among the small and marginal farmers free of cost to boost up the farming, he added
Senior Agriculture and Environment Coordinator of RDRS, Bangladesh, Mamunur Rashid said, pulse (mung bean) seed can be sown in the lands in March following the harvest of potatoes. Farming needs no additional fertiliser as a substantial amount of fertiliser has been used in the field for potato cultivation. The other pulse varieties are sown soon after harvesting the Aman paddy during November- December and can be harvested by March.
The farmers of the region will benefit from a three-cropping system of Aman paddy, potato and pulse as there is huge potential to increase pulse production despite the crop diversification program.
He said the government has to import around seventy-five per cent of pulses to meet domestic demands. In recent past years, the import expenditure has gone three times higher. Increasing pulse cultivation both on the mainland and char lands in river basin areas of the country in all seasons can save a huge amount of foreign currency and make the country self-reliant in pulse farming.
Afzal Hossain, 68, a farmer of Boirati Bazar under Mithapukur upazila of the district said they are happy to produce the different varieties of pulse during the rabi season. The production is good and they are getting a lucrative price for the crop.
He cultivated Mung beans in one bigha of land after harvesting potatoes this year at the end of February. He had to spend only Tk 1500 for farming. He harvested the crop this week within seventy days of the plantation and got five mounds. He sold the product at Tk 12000.
Another farmer, Anisur Rahman, 40, of Jatrapur union under Kurigram Sadar said that he planted seeds of different varieties of pulse - lentil, kheshari and mashkalai on five acres of his char lands beside the Dharla River during the month November-December. He harvested the crop by March 15. He had spent Tk 40 thousand for farming while he got 45 maunds of the crop and sold at Tk 1,10,000.