Short duration paddy farming brings dramatic success
RANGPUR, Nov 19 (BSS): Large-scale farming of short duration paddies has brought revolutionary success in combating monga fulfilling another pre-election pledge of the present government, officials, agri-experts and scientists said.
“There is no monga for the third consecutive time this season following expanded farming of short duration paddies, early harvest and huge social safety net programmes in Rangpur division,” Divisional Commissioner Jashim Uddin Ahmed said.
Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) first evolved short duration BRRI dhan 33 for crop intensification to ensure food security and National Seed Board approved the variety during the then Awami League government in 1997, said rice scientist Dr MA Mazid.
“Later, BRRI, Bangladesh Institute of Nuclear Agriculture and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Agriculture University evolved more short duration variety paddies like BRRI dhan 39, 49, 56 and 57, BINA dhan 7 and BU dhan 1 over the years,” he said.
Dr Mazid, who is currently Dinajpur Hub Manager of Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia, said the BRRI scientists started experimental on-station farming of BRRI dhan 33 from the year 1999 and got excellent results.
Later, research organisations, departments and NGOs started farming short duration paddies on experimental basis, got excellent results and the government took up its large scale farming plan from 2008 to mitigate monga.
The government took a 3-year (2008-2010) Greater Rangpur Monga Mitigation Programme (GRMMP) in 2008 for large-scale farming of short duration BRRI dhan 33 with early paddy harvest during the seasonal lean period.
The then Chief Scientific Officer of Rangpur BRRI Regional Station Dr Mazid was Programme Coordinator of GRMMP to bring 40,000 hectares under BRRI dhan 33 farming in 2008, 70,000 in 2009 and 1,00,000 hectares in 2010 involving the GO-NGOs.
“After assuming power in 2009, the present government put further emphasis on expanded farming of all short duration paddies and achieved the fixed 3-year GRMMP target by 2010,” Horticulturist Mezbahul Islam Khandker of the DAE said.
This season, farmers have cultivated BRRI dhan 33 and 39, BINA dhan 7 and BU 1 in 1,23,334 hectares in Rangpur division and its harvest will complete by November 7 next producing about 3,08,335 tonnes clean rice during lean period, he said.
According to DAE sources, the farmers have cultivated BRRI dhan 33 in 29,659 hectares land, BRRI dhan 39 in 9,647 hectares, BINA dhan 7 in 83,944 hectares and BU dhan 1 in 84 hectares land in the division.
“Early harvest of these paddies has been creating some 1.3m man-days jobs for the farm-labourers also paving way for early farming of vegetables and potatoes in the same land engaging thousands of farm-labourers to earn their wages,” Dr Mazid said.
Talking to BSS, Head of Agriculture and Environment of RDRS Bangladesh Dr MG Neogi said short duration paddy farming has become very popular and effective to combat monga and there is no way for the seasonal curse to reappear.