Farmers in Rangpur have begun harvesting short duration paddies during the low point of the seasonal lean period, creating jobs for labourers almost everywhere in the northern region, official sources have said.
Reaping will continue during the Bangla months of Aswin and Kartik to help the poor, including farm workers, overcome the seasonal “monga” that was last seen in the region five years ago.
Large-scale farming of short duration paddies has already become a popular way of combating “monga” in the northern districts.
Executive Director of the Rangpur-based North Bengal Institute of Development Studies Dr Syed Samsuzzaman said there was no “monga” for the fifth consecutive time this season following expanded farming of short duration paddies with early harvest, and the government’s huge social safety net programmes.
Alongside harvesting the short duration paddies, farming of the early variety of potatoes and vegetables in the same land will create working opportunities for day labourers during the lean period.
According to the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE), the farmers are benefitting from an excellent yield of paddy - 4.8 tonne per hectare on average at the beginning of the harvesting period.
The farmers have cultivated short duration paddies in 172,690 hectares of land this season in the northern districts and they will cultivate the subsequent early variety of potatoes and vegetables in the same land after reaping the harvest by the next month.
The short duration variety of paddies cultivated this season include BINA dhan 7 in 118,780 hectares of land, BRRI dhan 33 in 26,822 hectares, BRRI dhan 39 in 25,898 hectares, BRRI dhan 56 in 710 hectares, BRRI dhan 57 in 97 hectares, and BRRI dhan 46 in 383 hectares. Additionally, different short duration hybrid variety of paddies have been cultivated in 11,469 hectares of land.
Farmers Shachindra Nath, Abdur Rahman and Tayebur Rahman of Gangachara upazila in Rangpur said they had enjoyed a very good harvest this time after cultivating such paddies.
Farmers Kochim Uddin got 5.6 tonne yield per hectare from BINA dhan 7, while Nosim Uddin, Nur Alam, Alamgir and Abul Kalam got an average yield of 6 tonnes per hectare in Ramchandrapur village of Rangpur.
Renowned rice scientist and Associate Director Agriculture of BRAC International (South Asia and Africa) Dr MA Mazid said expanded farming of short duration paddies has brought revolutionary success in combating “monga” in recent years.
Rangpur Regional Additional Director of the DAE Sikander Ali said farmers were getting more profit through cultivation of short duration paddies followed by farming of early variety of winter vegetables, such as potato, maize, mustard.