Farmers see bumper production of maskalai in Rajshahi area
RAJSHAHI, Nov 13 (BSS)- Extensive cultivation of maskalai (black gram) in plain land in the region has created high hope among the farmers to get bumper production of the indigenous cash crop during the current season.
The expected farm output will also help meet up deficit in pulse production coupled with meeting up the nutritional demands in the region.
With the hiked price of pulse in the market, farmers have become interested to cultivate maskalai. Favourable climatic condition for the crop has created condition for increased production, agriculturists expect.
Earlier, farmers use to cultivate aman after harvesting of jute but witnessing the trend of reduced rainfall they prudently shifted to maskalai.
Besides, maskalai was cultivated on the char lands of Padma River and its tributaries just after recession of floodwater in wet alluvial mud by spraying the seed.
According to the sources of the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE), the farmers cultivated maskalai on over 8,000 hectares of land this season against the cultivation of around 4,000 hectares in Rajshahi district in last year.
Sources mentioned that the plantation of Aman seedlings was affected badly in the region due to lack of adequate rainfall during the current season remaining many lands fallow and the farmers cultivated black gram on the fallow lands with the hope of recouping the loss.
At present, the black gram fields are blooming everywhere in the region signaling the farmers of better yield.
However, some districts like Chapainawabganj, Rajshahi, Natore, Pabna and Sirajganj are most popular for the farming as topography and soil condition of those are suitable.
Only in Chapainawabganj, the crop was cultivated on around 25,000 hectares of land in the current season.
Over 50,000 tonnes of black gram is likely to be produced in the country’s northwestern region during the forthcoming harvesting season.
Additional Director of the DAE Saidur Rahman told BSS that the eco-friendly black gram farming is better for the lands as it naturally adds organic fertilizer and biomass to the land helping nitrogen fixation which is very important for enriching soil nutrients.
The crop is harvested as bi-product after harvesting previous crop without irrigation and fertilizer. Moreover, it free of insect and pest attack, he added.
In addition to benefiting the farmers relating to additional market price, he said the output meet up protein demands.
Apart from this, the straw and wastages of the plants are used as the most excellent feed of the cattle heads and buffaloes.
Talking to BSS, farmer Ekabbar Ali of Shreepur under Paba Upazila in Rajshahi said he cultivated maskalai on 20 `bighas’ of land instead of transplanting Aman and expects that around 8/10 mounds of yield would be achieved per bigha if the farming is not affected by any natural calamity.
He said the farming needs no irrigation and other additional costs for tillage and weeding as it germinates and grows well in normal natural moisture condition. In the last season, he said market price of black gram was Taka 1200 to Taka 1500 per mound.
Abul Hossain, a farmer of Charmazar Diar village under the same upazila, however, said the farming has drastically been reduced in the region during the last two decades due to multifarious problems including adverse impact of weather change.
“I myself have harvested at least 200 mounds of the crop every season during 70s and early 80s but the golden time is no more,” Hossain said adding that entire of the char livelihoods was dependent on the black gram farming and its sale proceeds.