Surface water irrigation boosts crop yield by 20 pc: experts

http://www.bssnews.net/newsDetails.php?cat=0&id=206196&date=2011-10-15

Surface water irrigation boosts crop yield by 20 pc: experts

DHAKA, Oct 15 (BSS) – Irrigation through surface water increases crop yield by 20 percent while it also reduces production cost as surface water contains composed fertilizer.

“Less chemical fertilizer is needed for crop production if we use surface water in irrigation” Chief Engineer (minor irrigation) of Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation (BADC) Md Abul Quasem Miah, who is now on Preparatory Leave for Retirement (PLR), said this today while talking to BSS.

Use of surface water in irrigation cuts crop production cost sharply as it reduces consumption of chemical fertilizer as well as irrigation expenditure, he said adding that this would also boost crop production by 20 percent.

Quasem said a total of 36 projects at a cost of around Taka 400 crore so far have been implemented in the fiscal year 2009-10 and 2010-11 mainly to promote use of surface water in irrigation.

Under the projects, 1444.62 kilometers of canal excavation or re-excavation were carried out from July 2009 to June 2011 while 44.5 km dam were constructed in the same period.

Taking success of the projects into consideration, Quasem said 30 more projects are being implemented to dig out 991.5 km canal aiming to increase use of surface water.

Water table in the groundwater is going down at alarming rate in 192 upazilas due to over use of groundwater for irrigation, he said and suggested increased use of surface water for irrigation to avoid adverse impact on ecology.

He feared that overuse of groundwater would make adverse impact on environment and agriculture sector.

Citing example of neighboring countries for preserving rainwater, Quasem said, “We should immediately take steps for preserving rainwater by using fallow land for promoting surface water in irrigation.”

In the last Rabi season, total irrigated area was 52,17,626 hectares, while groundwater covered 41,27,387 hectares which was 79.10 percent of total irrigated area, Quasem added.

He said surface water irrigation covered 10,90,239 hectares which was 20.9 percent of total irrigated area, according to a Minor Irrigation Survey Report (2009-10).

The survey was jointly conducted by BADC, Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) and Barind Multipurpose Development Authority (BMDA).

Chief Geologist of BADC Khandaker Fazal Hasan, who is now on PLR, said that farmers in many places during Rabi season suffer from inadequate irrigation water due to low water level.

“Groundwater level is declining gradually in the country as irrigation still depends largely on groundwater. We should reduce our dependency on ground water for irrigation to ensure ecological balance,” he added.

Irrigation cost through groundwater is higher than surface water, he said adding that surface water will cut crop production cost along with boosting production rate.

Vast tract of farming land in southwestern region particularly Bagerhat, Satkhira and Khulna have already been affected by saline water posing a serious threat to crop cultivation, Hasan said.

Use of surface water in irrigation will protect the farming land from salinity, he said adding, “We can increase availability of surface water by digging canals, river dredging and preserving rain water.”

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