Category Archives: Agriculture/Agricultural Security/Agro-Products/Cash Crops

Cotton cultivation gains popularity in Magura

Cotton cultivation gains popularity in Magura

MAGURA: A farmer in his cotton field at village Nanduali. — FE photo

Our Correspondent

MAGURA, Dec 19: Cotton cultivation is gaining popularity among the farmers of Magura.

District Cotton Development Board Magura said, a total of 400 hectares of land has been brought under cotton cultivation in the district this year with an output target of 800 tonnes. Last year the cultivation was in 250 hectares.

Minhazul Islam, a farmer of village Nanduali under Magura sadar upazila said, ‘Last year I cultivated cotton in 30 decimal land and I got 10 mound cotton and earned Tk 30 thousand. As I got a good profit, I have brought 3 bighas of land under cotton cultivation in the current season’.

Mofizul Islam, another farmer of village Barabari under Magura sadar upazila said, that he has brought 4 big has of land under cotton cultivation and he is expecting Tk 70 thousand from his output.

Alamgir Hossain Mridha, an official of District Cotton Development Board said, ‘We help the cotton farmers in procuring seeds, making land, nurturing of crop. If the weather is favourable a bumper production will be achieved in the current season’.

Mustard to be cultivated on 7,500 hectares in Joypurhat

Mustard to be cultivated on 7,500 hectares in Joypurhat

JOYPURHUT, Dec 20 (BSS) – The Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) has taken a plan to cultivate mustard on 7,500 hectares with a production target of 10,750 tonnes of mustard in the district, sources said.

DAE, Bangladesh Agriculture Development Corporation (BADC) and some NGOs are distributing quality mustard seeds among the farmers. The commercial banks are distributing agriculture loans to achieve the production target.

Of the total land, 2,000 hectares would be brought under mustard farming in Sadar upazila, 3,975 hectares in Panchbibi, 850 hectares in Khetlal, 225 hectares in Kalai and 450 hectares in Akkelpur upazila, the sources added.

Deputy Director of DAE Delbar Hossain told BSS that farmers have already started sowing mustard seeds on their lands after harvesting T-Aman and vegetables.

All necessary steps have been taken to boost the mustard production.

2,000 hectares to be brought under wheat cultivation in Joypurhat

2,000 hectares to be brought under wheat cultivation in Joypurhat

JOYPURHAT, 17 Dec (BSS) – The Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) has set a target of producing 5,000 tonnes of wheat in all five upazilas of the district during the current rabi season.

DAE sources said a total of 2000 hectares of land will be brought under wheat cultivation and farmers have started sowing wheat seeds on their lands after harvesting T-aman, winter vegetables and other crops.

The DAE and BADC are distributing quality seeds and the commercial banks and NGOs are providing loans among the poor and marginal Farmers of the district.

DAE sources said 500 hectares of land would be brought under wheat farming in Sadar upazila, 1200 hectares in Panchbibi, 200 hectares in Akkelpur, 50 hectares in Khethlal and 50 hectares in Kalai upazila in the district.

New device seen as a breakthrough in providing information to farmers

Agri info through e-books on finger touch
New device seen as a breakthrough in providing information to farmers
Author / Source : Faisal Rahman

DHAKA, DEC 8: Farmers, who are not oriented with the operation of desktop computers, will now be happy knowing that they would be able to read e-books on finger touch on the screen of a new machine developed by Agricultural Information Services (AIS). Even farmers, who are not literate, can receive information through the e-books using the machine as  such books contain different multimedia like recitation of the chapters in audio format and video footages of short plays that will open on a finger touch on the designated icons on the screen, said officials.

Badal Sarker, designer of the machine, told The Independent that the machine named “Information on Finger Touch” was built to provide all sorts of agricultural information to farmers through one booth in the easiest way possible.

“Observing functions of card readers at the booths of different banks, I was convinced that similar devices could be developed for simplifying the process of information dissemination to farmers”, he said.

After conceiving the idea, Badal consulted the companies that provide card reader machines to banks, but the cost they projected for the machine was very high – at least Tk 7.5 lakh per machine.

“At one stage, I shared the idea with the director of AIS and requested him to provide me support for developing the machine by ourselves”, Badal added.

“With the green signal, I and other officials of AIS started developing the software and the layout needed to run the machine which is a combination of different hardware such as a 22-inch touch screen monitor and a high configuration computer system.”

“All the software were developed in-house, while some hardware parts imported from abroad. At the end, the device costs about three lakh taka”, he said.

“We have already demonstrated the function of the machine to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina during the e-Asia Conference, held recently in Dhaka. The agriculture secretary CQK Mustak Ahmed also came to our office to see the machine. Both of them appreciated our work”, said Nazrul Islam, director of AIS.

“Right now we are conducting an assessment study whether we could install the machine to each of the 95 Agricultural Information and Communication Centres (AICC) across the country so that farmers can receive the information they need directly on their own finger touch, rather than depending on a mediator”, Nazrul said.

The AIS has already created 12 e-books on the cultivation of different cropsincluding rice, wheat and tomato, he added.

The books were created incorporating features such as animation, steel and video images and audio speech keeping in mind the educational level of the farmers, he pointed out.

3.50 cr tonne rice production target fixed

3.50 cr tonne rice production target fixed

DHAKA, Dec 7 (BSS) – The government has set a national target to produce nearly 3.50 crore tonnes of rice including aus, aman and boro along with other non-cereal crops, spices and vegetables during the winter season this fiscal, giving emphasis on hybrid rice production.

As per the national target, the government also has a plan to increase production of other non-rice cereal crops like maize, wheat and different kinds of pulses along with winter vegetables, oilseeds and spices.

Under the target, 1.87 crore tonnes of boro rice from 47.80 lakh hectares, 1.33 crore tonnes aman from 56.30 lakh hectares and the rest 27.50 lakh tonnes of aus rice, are expected to come from 12 lakh hectares of land during the rabi season, revealed by a source close to the target fix-up committee under the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) here today.

In boro production, 1.65 crore tonnes of high yielding variety (HYV), nearly 30 lakh tonnes of hybrid and only 93,000 tonnes local variety boro rice are expected to be produced during the fiscal year.

In 2010-11, country’s hybrid rice production was only 28 lakh tonnes from 6.53 lakh hectares of land, but now the hybrid rice production has increased significantly.

Talking about this year’s plan for increased hybrid rice production, additional secretary of the ministry Anwar Faruq told BSS that “the government plans to increase hybrid rice production mainly for lifting the country’s overall rice production by popularizing it [hybrid variety] among the farmers.”

The government also has set a target to produce 9.75 lakh tonne wheat and 16.49 lakh tonne maize, the second largest crop after the rice, respectively from 3.75 and 2.40 lakh hectares of land.

The committee also has fixed a production target of 83.26 tonne potato, 71.73 lakh bale jute and nearly 1.20 crore tonnes of vegetables during the winter season.

It also plans to produce 7.74 lakh tonne pulses including Mung, Masur, Matar, Maskalai and Arhar.

Besides this, 2.72 lakh tonnes of chilli, 1.40 lakh tonnes of turmeric, 5.88 lakh tonnes of mustard, 2 lakh tonnes of ginger, 16.20 lakh tones of onion, 4.16 lakh tonnes of garlic and 6.20 lakh tonnes of sweet potato are also to be produced during the current winter season.

About the production target, the director general of the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE), Habibur Rahman, said the production target has already been sent to the field and massive imitative has been taken to materialise the target programme.

Beans cultivation gaining ground in Narsingdi

Beans cultivation gaining ground in Narsingdi
Our Correspondent

NARSINGDI, Dec 8: Bean cultivation is gaining ground in the Narsingdi district as it brings substantial amount of money to the farmers.

A large number of farmers of the Narsingdi district have involved them selves in bean cultivation in the recent times considering its economic prospect.

According to Agriculture Extension Department [AED], 2400 hectares of land have been brought under bean cultivation in the Narsingdi district. Many farmers have changed their lot by growing bean. This correspondent visited different areas of Shibpur, Belabo, Raipura, Palash, Narsingdi Sadar and Monohardi Upazila recently and saw farmers working in their bean fields with much enthusiasm. According the farmers, four to five thousand Taka is needed to cultivate bean on one bigha of land. Sowing of bean seeds begins at the end of Bangla month of Ashar, but the full season begins from Kartik. At the beginning of the season, bean is sold at exorbitant prices. Gradually the prices come down with adample supply.

Record yield of vegetables in northern region

Record yield of vegetables in northern region

NAOGAON, Dec 4 (UNB): Farmers of Rangpur and Rajshahi divisions have set a record by cultivating winter vegetables on 0.2m hectares of land in the current season.

Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) is expecting that 4m mts of vegetables would be produced from this region due to favourable weather condition. The DAE officials expect that the farmers will earn Tk 80b this season.

Around 1m farmers cultivated cabbage, cauliflower, tomato, carrot, bean, bottle gourd, turnip and brinjal on vast tracts of land in 16 districts of the northern region.

Farmers are expecting to earn a huge profit by selling the vegetables due to its good price in the market.

Monwar, a farmer of Rangpur district, said he brought 3 bighas of land under brinjal cultivation. Now, he is expecting good profit as brinjel is selling at Tk 300 per maund in the local market.

Besides, cauliflower is now selling at Tk 900-1000 per maund and 100 pieces of cabbage at Tk 1200-1500.

DAE sources said last year 0.137m hectares were brought under winter vegetable cultivation in the region and 2.2m tonnes vegetables were produced.

Deputy Director of Naogaon DAE said 20 percent of the produced vegetables are used to meet local demand while the rest are supplied to different parts of the country.

Bumper winter vegetables likely in Rajshahi region

Bumper winter vegetables likely in Rajshahi region

RAJSHAHI, Dec 3 (BSS)- Like the previous couple year, farmers and Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) are expecting a bumper production of winter vegetables in the northern region including vast barind tract during the current Rabi season.

Early farming of the vegetables under the changed climatic condition and cropping patterns contributed to surplus output, officials said.

Vegetables’ farming becomes most profitable than other crops in recent years bringing fortunes to thousands of farmers and commoners in the region during the past few years.

The DAE has fixed an all time record production target of 10 lakh tonnes winter vegetables from around 80,000 hectares of land in all eight districts under the Rajshahi Agricultural Zone with an average yield rate of 16 tonnes per hectare during the current season.

This has become possible because the DAE, Bangladesh Agriculture Research Institute, Bangladesh Agriculture Development Corporation and many NGOs supplied adequate quality seeds, other agro-inputs and provided necessary technical assistance to the farmers.

Besides, different commercial banks, Rajshahi Krishi Unnayan Bank and NGOs disbursed agriculture loans and interest-free loans among the farmers to make the massive winter vegetables farming programme successful.

Meanwhile, the early harvest of the winter vegetables also made the farmers happy, as they are getting better prices at the beginning of the season, farmers and market sources said.

The farmers have still been continuing cultivation of winter vegetables after harvesting the early and short duration variety of Aman paddies and harvesting of the early variety vegetables.

‘Farming of late variety winter vegetables will continue further, even after the harvesting of traditional variety T-Aman paddy in the region,’ the DAE officials said.

The DAE officials are expecting a super bumper production of winter vegetables, including potato, during the current Rabi season following further reduction of prices of the non-urea fertilizers by the government.

Meanwhile, the vegetables traders and middlemen have already started exporting huge quantities of early variety vegetables to other parts of the country by trucks.

Bangladesh backs solar pumps to expand irrigation

Bangladesh backs solar pumps to expand irrigation
29 Nov 2011 19:47
Source: alertnet // Syful Islam

Installation of Bangladesh’s first solar-powered irrigation pump in northern Naogaon district in 2009. PHOTO/Grameen Shakti

By Syful Islam

DHAKA (AlertNet) – The government of Bangladesh is planning to install close to 19,000 solar-powered irrigation pumps by 2016, in a bid to expand the country’s irrigated land area and boost food production, while limiting its reliance on fossil fuels.

The initiative is being promoted as an environmentally friendly approach to improving food security for the country’s fast-growing population of 160 million.

The new pumps will run on a combined 150 megawatts (MW) of power generated by solar panels, which is projected to save the government nearly $100 million in fuel-subsidy costs over 20 years.

Today Bangladeshi farmers rely on some 266,000 electrically powered water pumps – which consume around 1,300 MW – to irrigate 1.7 million hectares (4.2 million acres) of land.

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Gourd production brings Tarapada good fortune

Gourd production brings Tarapada good fortune

GOPALGAN: Tarapada Bala taking his fare of gourds to the market. — FE photo

Our Correspondent

GOPALGANJ, Dec 1: Gourd cultivation has changed the fate of a school teacher, Tarapada Bala (50), who is earning about Tk. 1,38,000 a month from his gourd field now.

Tarapada Bala is a school teacher of Govt. Primary School under Tungipara upazila of Gopalganj district. He has been working in his vegetable field side by side his teaching occupation for last twenty years. His strong will power, curiosity and hard work made him a successful farmer of Mitrodanga village under Tungipara upazila of Gopalganj district.

Tarapada started cultivating vegetables on a small scale in the year 1990. But in recent years he has concentrated on vegetable cultivation, particularly on gourd.

On Friday, while this correspondent visited his gourd field, he told the F.E., everyday he has been collecting about 200 pieces of gourd from his field.

Tarapada said he invested Tk. 40,000 for gourd cultivation on two bighas of land including seeds, fertilizer, pesticide etc. but he usually uses natural fertilizer in his field.

Not only that, he has been earning an additional profit of Tk. one lakh from other vegetables production.

Last year (2010) Tarapada Bala was awarded a silver medal from the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina as the best farmer in agriculture sector. Earlier he received certificates from the Ministry of Agriculture as a successful farmer in the district.

He further informed this correspondent that many of his neighbours have now been following his footsteps. He offers from free advice to them on gourd production.

Beans bring fortune for Pabna farmers

Beans bring fortune for Pabna farmers
Our Correspondent

PABNA, Nov 30: A large number of farmers in Pabna and Natore districts are now engaged in bean cultivation as it proved highly profitable changing the lives of many people in the region.

Some 60/70 trucks loaded with beans leave ‘Muladuli bean zone’ in Iswardi Upazila of Pabna, the biggest bean-producing area, for capital Dhaka and other parts of the country everyday as beans worth around Tk 1 crore is traded daily at the local market, traders said.

Over 1.5 lakh families are now involved in bean cultivation and its business in the region that sees increasing cultivation of it for the last several years, local sources said.

Bean farmers from Pabna and Natore districts take their products to Muladuli market and sell it to wholesalers who supply it to different places including Dhaka, Chittagong, Sylhet and Narayanganj.

Farmers from all the villages of Muladuli union under Ishwardi upazila, Khidirpur, Per Khidirpur and Ramchandrapur unions of Atghoria upazila and Zednail, Haripur and adjoining villages of Chatmohar upazila under Pabna district bring their product to the market for sale, said Abdur Razzak, secretary of Muladuli Vegetable Traders Association.

The farmers from Boraigram, Gopalpur and Lalpur upazilas in Natore also bring their beans to the country’s largest wholesale bean market, traders said.

“The local market sees trading of 1,800 to 2,100 maunds of bean everyday. The amount is on rise as there has been a bumper production of the vegetable this year,” said Mohammad Sohel, a wholesaler of the market.

“Each maund (37.32 kg) of bean now sells between Tk 400 and Tk 450 while the same amount sold between Tk 3,500 and Tk 3,600 a few weeks ago. The price will decrease further as the supply is on rise,” said Abdur Razzak.

Sources in Pabna Agriculture Extension Department said at least 3,000 hectares of land have been brought under bean cultivation in the district this year while it was around 2,200 hectares last year.

This year beans were produced on over 6,000 hectares of land.

“I have cultivated beans on six bighas of land this year while it was only one bigha a few years ago. After obtaining my master’s degree, I joined a school. At the same time I started bean cultivation as it is very profitable,” said Mukter Hossain.

“Bean farming on a bigha of land costs Tk 12,000 to 14,000. If there is no natural calamity, a farmer can get 80 to 100 maunds of bean from the land in a season. One can easily earn a profit of Tk 15,000 to 20,000 per bigha,” said Latif Joarder, a small bean farmer.

A few bean farmers, however, said they often fail to get fair price of the product.

Local farmers and traders have demanded that the government build a cold storage in the area so that they can preserve their agricultural products.

Bumper Aman yield expected in Jhenidah

Bumper Aman yield expected in Jhenidah

JHENIDAH: Aman harvesting in progress in a paddy field. — FE photo

A Correspondent

JHENIDAH, Nov 29: A bumper output of Aman paddy is expected in Jhenidah district this season due to favourable weather throughout the season, according to sources in the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE).

The DAE sources said the farmers here brought more land under the Aman farming this year to make up for the loss of Boro crops caused by last year’s rains. During a recent visit to Jhenidah Sadar, Kaliganj, Shuilakupa, Harinakundo, Moshespur and Kotchandpur upazilas this correspondent found the farmers engaged in harvesting paddy form their fields in a rather festive mood.

Earlier the deparment set a target to cultivate Aman paddy on 92,200 hectares of land in six upazilas of the district.

The DAE source said they were expecting about 2,50,014 tonnes of rice this year.

Johor Ali, a farmer of Narendropur village under Kaliganj upazila said the acreage of the BINA- 7 variety of paddy was about 3.20 tonnes per hectares this year. Most of the farmers cultivated this variety of paddy on their land in Jhenidah district.

Khondokar Serazul Karim, deputy director of the DAE, also informed that about 80-90 percent of the paddy had already been harvested.

Several farmers told this correspondent that they would be able to complete the Aman paddy harvest smoothly within two weeks if the weather permitted.

$50m WB grant to enhance agriculture productivity

$50m WB grant to enhance agriculture productivity

DHAKA Nov 29 (BSS) – Bangladesh has received a US$ 50 million grant from the World Bank (WB) for the Integrated Agricultural Productivity Project (IAPP) that will directly benefit three lakh small and marginal farmers in Northern and Southern region.

The project launched here today will help to enhance agriculture productivity including crop, livestock and fisheries in Bangladesh, said a WB press release.

Under the project, approximately 175,000 crop farmers, 60,000 livestock farmers and 60,000 fish farmers will be able to improve productivity through the project support.

At least 20 percent of project beneficiaries will be women and the project will be implemented in Rangpur, Kurigram, Nilphamari and Lalmonirhat districts in the North and Barisal, Patuakhali, Barguna and Jhalokathi districts in the South, the WB added.

“The steps taken by the current government has been helping Bangladesh to attain food and nutrition security. Under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh Food Security Investment Forum was held in 2010 in the wake of emerging global food crisis. The IAPP operationalizes the country investment plan endorsed at the forum,” said agriculture minister Matia Chowdhury.

The project will focus on improving the productivity of crop, livestock and fishery.

“Thanks to the important steps taken by the country, in the last three decades, Bangladesh has achieved near self-sufficiency in food gains, which was a distant dream in the early 1970s,” said Ellen Goldstein, WB’s Country Director.

“A lot has been done, yet challenges remain. Increasing population and dwindling agriculture land put extra pressure on food security. The grant will support government’s effort to increase agricultural productivity in the most poverty stricken regions,” Ellen Goldstein added.

The GAFSP is a multilateral mechanism created to assist in the implementation of pledges of global support to agriculture to improve the income and food security of poor people in developing countries.

The launching was also attended, among others, by Fisheries and Livestock Minister Md. Abdul Latif Bishwas and Food and Disaster Management Minister Dr. Muhammad Abdur Razzak.

The WB will supervise the investment project while FAO will supervise technical and capacity building component of the project.

Prospects of 3 drought-tolerant paddy varieties in Barind bright

Prospects of 3 drought-tolerant paddy varieties in Barind bright

RAJSHAHI, Nov 28 (BSS): A group of farmers have selected three new paddy varieties as promising drought-tolerant for drought-prone rain-fed environment in Barind.

The selection process has been done in a crop-cutting ceremony styled “Drought tolerant rice variety evaluation through participatory variety selection” organized by Rajshahi Regional Station of Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) at Alimganj area under Paba Upazila of Rajshahi district recently.

After a long journey of research, the regional station has developed the paddy varieties- IR82635-B-B-145-1, IR82635-B-B-75-2 and IR83377-B-B-93-3- for the farmers of the region’s drought-prone area for the first time in the county.

BRRI’s senior scientific officer and principal investigator of the research programme Bishwajit Karmaker revealed the success at the crop-cutting ceremony. He said the varieties would give satisfactory yield with scanty rainfall without any irrigation during the rain-fed transplanted Aman season in the area.

Disseminating his expertise he said the declining rainfall coupled with the enhanced temperature due to adverse impact of the climate change has put the agriculture sector at a vulnerable condition.

To face the degradable position, BRRI with assistance from IRRI has been conducting a field level research in the Barind area for the last four years and finally developed the three drought tolerant and short duration varieties.

Additional Director of Department of Agriculture Extension Saidur Rahman and its Deputy Director Nurul Amin and BRRI’s Regional Head Dr Tahmid Hossain Ansari were, among others, present on the occasion.

Of asparagus and capsicum—a farmer’s success story

Of asparagus and capsicum—a farmer’s success story
Our Correspondent

BOGRA, Nov, 27: Anser Ali 60, from Bujruk Shokra village under Shibganj upazila of Bogra district, a grower of exotic vegetables, has brought a tremendous change in his life cultivating uncommon vegetables like asparagus in his land. He usually sells them in Dhaka and Cittagong between February and March earning around Tk 70 thousand a year. February to March is the peak time for asparagus.

He started farming foreign vegetables about 20 years ago on 7 decimals of his land by investing only Tk 200. For his outstanding contribution in farming foreign and local vegetables, he received Tk 3.5 lakh as prize money from Bangladesh government in September this year.

Agriculturist Md. Mahatab Uddin encouraged him at the outset to cultivate capsicum in 1992. His first harvest was not successful due to lack of knowledge on cultivation methods.

He cultivates 600 decimals of land in the winter season and 231 decimals in the summer for supplying foreign vegetables to some multi-star hotels in the capital. He said his annual profit has reached 2.7 lakh from selling vegetables like pepper, capsicum and asparagus etc. He further said he has been producing commercially sweet corn, hybrid cabbage, hybrid onion and some other foreign vegetables. He pointed out that getting quality seeds is one of the vital setbacks in cultivating foreign vegetables in our country. With the profit out of selling vegetables, he has purchased 429 decimals of land and is running his family as well as repaying his loan.

He also claimed, he supplies 20 varieties of foreign vegetables to 8 customers in the capital. He has created job opportunities for local jobless men and women in his vegetables fields. He now wishes to export vegetables if he would get government assistance in this regard.

Lack of transportation facilities is one big problem for foreign vegetables cultivation. Railway is the most effective transportation though there is no direct railway communication from Bogra to Dhaka and Cittagong. For that reason, vegetables cultivators have to spend huge money as truck fares. He said, the foreign vegetable cultivation can be profitable and may contribute a lot to our economy if the authority pays heed to cultivators and their problems.