'Cultivation of Napier grass has become a profitable venture for farmers who can easily earn Tk 1 lakh annually by farming the highly nutritious Napier grass on one acre of land,' said Acting District Livestock Officer Dr Md Sirajul Haque
Many farmers in Rangpur have achieved self-reliance and changed fortune through commercial basis cultivation of high yielding variety Napier grass across the district during the last 12 years.
“Cultivation of Napier grass has become a profitable venture for farmers who can easily earn Tk 1 lakh annually by farming the highly nutritious Napier grass on one acre of land,” said Acting District Livestock Officer Dr Md Sirajul Haque.
As the livestock and dairy sectors are boosting rapidly during the last 12 years, demand for nutritious green grass continues increasing as fodder for heads of cattle, cows, goats and sheep and attracts more farmers in farming the grass.
“During the 2016-2017 fiscal, some 3,000 farmers cultivated Napier variety grass on over 2,940 bighas (980 acres) of land and produced 2.05 lakh tons worth about Tk 42 crore in the district,” Haque said.
To meet the growing demand, farmers continued expanding cultivation of Napier grass on more lands during the subsequent 2017-2018, 2018-2019, 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 fiscals in Rangpur district.
Farmer Akhterul Islam of Sreerampur village under Chandanpat union of Rangpur Sadar upazila said he has been cultivating Napier grass on only 12 decimals of land for the past six years spending Tk 7,000 annually as farming costs.
“After meeting demand of my four milk-giving cows, I earn a net annual profit of around Tk 20,000 by selling the harvested grass eight times annually,” said Akhterul.
Farmer Nanu Chandra of nearby Matiyapara village said he has been cultivating Napier grass on his one acre (100 decimals) of land during the past nine years.
“I generally spend Tk 45,000 for cultivating the grass, including labour costs, on my one acre of land, and harvest the grass eight times annually and sell those at Tk 3.40 lakh to earn a net profit of Taka three lakh every year,” Nanu said.
Farmers Azizar Rahman and Rawshan Ara of Akandapara village in Badarganj upazila and Amjad Hossain and Kohinoor Begum of Protipal Bogurapara village in Pirgachha upazila also said Napier grass framing has changed their fortune in recent years.
Dairy farm owner Mizanur Rahman of Jummapara area in Rangpur said he purchases 900 kg of Napier grass for feeding his six cows and five heifers every week at Tk between 1,300 and 1,500 depending on various seasons.
Senior Coordinator (Agriculture and Environment) of RDRS Bangladesh Agriculturist Mamunur Rashid said Napier grass cultivation has become a profitable venture and attracts more farmers in farming the grass every year in the district.
Farmers can earn extra profits by cultivating the grass on their fallow homesteads, roadside places, mango and litchi orchards and abandoned lands also to make best use of land without hampering regular crop farming on cultivable lands.
“Green Napier grass has more vitamins than dry paddy straws and meets nutrition and enhances disease resistance capacity of domestic animals like cows, goats and sheep for their healthier growth alongside increasing production of meat and milk,” Rashid added.