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

Clouds clear over T-Aman prospect in Rangpur

Clouds clear over T-Aman prospect in Rangpur

RANGPUR: T-Aman paddy field assumes a captivating greenish look in Rangpur Division. — FE photo Our Correspondent

RANGPUR, Sept 19: The T-Aman paddy fields have assumed an impressive greenish look in all the eight districts under Rangpur division.

According to the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) official sources, DAE set a target to cultivate a total of 10,32,828 hectares of land in Rangpur division during the current season.

In the mid-season the cultivation of T-Aman paddy was seriously hampered due to drought like situation. But the recent rainfall changed the scene and helped the farmers become optimistic again about achieving the target.

In order to make the cultivation programme successful, BADC distributed high quality seeds to the farmers at a reasonable price. Fertilisers, pesticides and other required inputs were also supplied to the farmers at fair prices.

The commercial banks including RAKUB disbursed soft loan to the poor and the marginal farmers during the current season to help them bring all cultivable land under cultivation to achieve the country’s food security, sources said.

Deputy Director of DAE Rangpur, Golam Sobhani said the farmers are so much hopeful of a bumper production of the paddy as a congenial climatic condition is now prevailing in the region.


Bangladesh to get 60,000 hectares for farming in Uganda

Bangladesh to get 60,000 hectares for farming in Uganda
Star Business Report

Uganda is interested to allocate up to 60,000 hectares of land to Bang-ladeshi entrepreneurs for commercial farming in the east African country, its Honorary Consul to Bangladesh said yesterday.

”The government of Uganda has shown interest to allocate more land for cultivation to Bangladeshi entrepreneurs. If it is feasible and receives attractive proposal it will provide more,” said Abul Hossain, the honorary consul.

”Uganda will provide the land for free. It will however take a percentage of the produce,” he said at a press conference at Ruposhi Bangla Hotel in Dhaka.

The disclosure came after a team of Bangladeshi businessmen got nod from the government of Uganda against their proposal for commercial farming on 10,000 hectares of land (1 hectare = 2.47 acres) in the country.

Nitol-Niloy Group, which led the delegation to the African country last month, organised the press meet to announce its plan to invest $12.5 million to grow rice on 10,000 hectares of land in Uganda in a bid to support Bangladesh’s effort to ensure food sufficiency for its growing population.

With 16 crore population on 147,000 square kilometres of land, Bangladesh faces a gradual fall of arable land due to its increased use for non-farm purposes including housing.

The decline has created concerns about future food security for the nation which takes rice as staple.

Bangladesh requires additional 5 lakh tonnes of food grains every year for its rising population. Over the decades since independence, rice output tripled to over 3 crore tonnes in Bangladesh, yet the country has to depend on imports.

Abdul Matlub Ahmad, chairman of Nitol-Niloy Group, a Tk 2,000 crore company, said Bang-ladeshi entrepreneurs are looking for commercial rice farming in Africa to ensure food security.

Ahmad, whose company’s operations range from automobile to paper to cement, said the proposed farming venture on 10,000 hectares of land would give output of 77,000 tonnes of rice from two seasons a year.

Of the produce, 20 percent will go to the government of Uganda, and the remaining will be sent to Bangladesh with a profit of 10 percent plus production cost.

”If such 22 projects could be done, we will have the food security the government wants,” said Ahmad.

He said Bangladesh has a shortfall of 14 lakh tonnes of rice, and 22 such farms can narrow the gap between the demand and supply.

Hossain said the African country has a plenty of cultivable land, with suitable weather for farming. It also produces organic cotton, coffee, tea and rice.

He said the scope for Bangladeshi entrepreneurs to invest in the country would widen if the agriculture ministries of the two countries sign cooperation deal.

Apart from Nitol-Niloy Group, some more local entrepreneurs have also started looking for leasing land in other African countries including Tanzania.

Two local businesses including one led by Nitol-Niloy Group aim to go for farming in Uganda and Tanzania on 40,000 hectares of land, according to reports.

Bangladesh Bank, which gives permission to local entrepreneurs investing abroad, is yet to receive any application seeking clearance for foreign exchange transfer, said a top central bank official.

Ahmad expected the government would allow such investments to ensure food security in the country. He added an agreement between Bangladesh and Uganda might be signed next month.

Ahmad also announced a platform, Bangladesh Africa Business Forum, to provide support to prospective investors.

Zinc rice by 2013

Zinc rice by 2013
New variety to help children be in sound health
Saidul Haque

Agricultural scientists of the country will release a new variety of rice – zinc-fortified rice – by 2013 with concentration of 24 mg of zinc a kg essential for both physical and mental growth of children.

Alamgir Hossain, principal scientific officer of Plant Breeding Division of Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI), said: “We are trying to develop it in bio-fortification process and the production target is about 7 tonnes per hectare as the farmers are interested in cultivating the variety because of its high yielding capacity.”

Harvest Plus, an international research project under Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGSIR), will release the new variety by 2013.

Nowadays farmers are not willing to cultivate less yielding variety of rice because of less profit, said the researchers of BRRI.

Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury said she suggested that the scientists should take into consideration such a variety that will reduce the production cost of farmers.

A new variety of rice must be tasty apart from other qualities to become popular, otherwise it will bring no positive results, the minister mentioned.

Most of the people in our country suffer from zinc deficiency while it is essential for both mental and physical growth of children.

Children of low-income family of the country are fully dependent on rice and their physical growth is hampering due to zinc deficiency, Alamgir said.

For the micronutrient deficiency, our nation is lagging behind intellectually compared to that of other nations, he added.

According to World Health Organisation, if 20 percent of children of a country do not have proper physical growth compared to their age, it is considered that people of that country are experiencing serious zinc deficiency.

“Most of the people in our country can not meet the demand for zinc,” said Mohammad Abdul Mannan, director general of BRRI. The average amount of zinc in BRRI released rice variety is 13 mg/kg which is not sufficient for human body, said Abdul Mannan.

“We are also trying to enrich the new rice variety with iron content so that people can get both iron and zinc in the same rice,” Abdul Mannan informed.

Mahabub Hossain, executive director of BRAC said, “We are very much hopeful about this new rice variety; we are also trying to keep its price within the reach of consumers to popularise it,” Mahabub said.

Zinc-enriched rice in 2 years

Zinc-enriched rice in 2 years
Staff Correspondent

Bangladesh is set to release in two years a rice variety enriched with zinc which might effectively fight zinc deficiency that causes physical and mental problems.

Most people in the country suffer from zinc deficiency. Growth of children is hampered and their disease prevention capacity decreases due to such deficiency. Forty-three percent children under five are stunted, 43 percent suffer from underweight and 64 percent suffer from anaemia, experts say.

Scientists conducting a long-running breeding experiment on iron and zinc content in rice have found 12 to 36 milligrams of zinc in rice per kilogram whereas polished rice in Bangladesh generally contains 3 to 4 mg of zinc per kilogram on an average.

“Concentrations of 24 milligrams of zinc a kilogram have been identified in several advanced breeding lines, which are the fast-track breeding lines for developing high-zinc rice variety in Bangladesh,” said Dr Alamgir Hossain, principal scientific officer at Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI).

BRRI in cooperation with HarvestPlus, an international crop research organisation, has been conducting the breeding experiment on enhancement of iron and zinc content in rice in Bangladesh since 2005-06.

The progress made in the experiment was revealed yesterday at a national workshop on “Addressing micronutrient malnutrition in Bangladesh: a case of zinc fortified rice”. The two-day workshop jointly organised by HarvestPlus, BRRI and Brac began yesterday at a city hotel.

Alamgir Hossain said, “As per target, at least four to five advanced breeding lines with desirable yield and agronomic traits will be identified leading to release of the rice variety by 2013.”

Addressing the seminar as chief guest, Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury said the present government will fully support scientists’ efforts for incorporating zinc in rice if it benefits people.

But nutritional value of the rice variety, its yield level, taste and production cost must be assessed, she said.

“While making new inventions, we must be cautious that we don’t do anything which is harmful to human health,” Matia said.

Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council Executive Chairman Dr Wais Kabir said overuse of farmland in the country is causing serious deficiency of micronutrient in land. Developing a rice variety fortified with zinc will therefore be very useful, he added.

Brac Executive Director Mahabub Hossain said an adult man needs 4 mg of zinc a day, an adult woman needs 3 mg, a child needs 1-3 mg, a growing child needs 3-5 mg and an expecting mother needs 3-6 mg.

BRRI Director General Dr Abdul Mannan, ICDDR, B scientist Dr Tahmeed Ahmed and HarvestPlus Bangladesh’s Country Manager Dr Rezaul Karim also spoke.

Bangladeshi farmers to plough barren African lands

Bangladeshi farmers to plough barren African lands

DHAKA, April 27 (BSS) – Against the backdrop of dwindling arable land in densely populated Bangladesh, a large group of farmers are now set to run their ploughs in barren lands in Sub Saharan Tanzania from June this year.

A leading private Bangladeshi agriculture farm explored the opportunity of sending at least one lakh farmers from the country to Tanzania in next 12 months and 50,000 fishermen in subsequent years.

“Initially we will start farming 30,000 hectares of land with 4,000 farmers,” Chief Executive Officer of Bhati Bangla Agrotec Ltd Mizanur Rahman Azad told BSS today.

He said the target of his farm, however, was to cover three lakh hectares within one year with sending a total of one lakh Bangladeshi agro-workers there.

The development came as a high-profile official delegation recently visited a number of African countries to review scopes to turn the nearly unexplored region as destination of Bangladesh’s manpower and products.

Under the consultation of Bhati Bangla Agrotec Ltd., 75 Bangladeshi agro entrepreneurs have taken lease 30,000 hectares of land. “We took the lands for 99 years lease free of cost in the condition that we will give our 10 percent of profit to the Tanzanian government,” he said.

Each Bangladeshi farmer will get Taka 13,000 per month while the Bangladeshi entrepreneurs will arrange accommodation and food without any charge.

“Initially we will make three years contract with the agro-workers keeping option of renewing visas and as per the Tanzanian government, a worker is permitted to work till 60 years of age,” Azad said.

He said presently 140 lakh hectares of cultivatable land are vacant in Tanzania, a country bigger than six and half times of Bangladesh having only 4.5 crore people.

Azad said they are planning to cultivate rice, pulses and corn in Tanzania. “We will sell corn to Tanzanian markets and bring rice and pulses in Bangladesh.”

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has taken the initiatives of farming African lands by the Bangladeshi farmers for ensuring food security of the country as well as creating employment opportunities for Bangladeshi agro workers.

Low-cost irrigation boon for Ashuganj Boro farmers

Low-cost irrigation boon for Ashuganj Boro farmers
Our Correspondent

BRAHMANBARIA, Apr 30: Ashuganj-Palash Agro Irrigation Project (APIP) under Bangladesh Agriculture Development Corporation (BADC) has been successfully providing a low-cost irrigation to 18623 hectares of Boro fields in Ashuganj and Palash region during this Boro season, officials said.

Farmers are expecting that they are going to get a bumper Boro production during this season in the region if the prevailing climate continues.

Most of the farmers have to depend on power driven pumps for irrigation in this region.

The APIP, Brahmanbaria, has taken a scheme to bring 18623 hectares of land against the production target of 96250 metric tonnes under Boro cultivation in 37 Unions of seven Upazilas under the project area through its irrigation facilities, project director Mohammad Hanif told the FE.

In the project area, farmers are using the irrigation machines like power pumps, shallow and low-lift pumps to irrigate their land.

The region wise break-up of cultivation target is as follows: Ashuganj region 12146 hectares and Palash region 16000 hectares. Farmers cultivated the paddy of hybrid, ufsi and local varieties.

The farmers are now getting BADC supplied irrigated waters at Tk 400 and 200 per acre for water through gravity flow and double lifting system respectively. It is very low in cost for irrigation. The private irrigation providers have been realising charges as per their wills between Tk 3000 and Tk 4000, local farmers said. The project realised Tk 0.19 million as irrigation cost against the outstanding target of Tk 19.33 million among farmers from the project area.

The project implemented a total of four phase activities through its small irrigation wing with an expenditure of Tk 24.53 billion through GOB and its own finance.

Project area is twenty-two unions of Brahmanbaria Sadar, Ashuganj, Sarail and Nabinagar Upazila and Fifteen unions of Narsingdi Sadar, Palash and Shibpur Upazila.

The Project is divided in two areas; one area is at Ashuganj in Brahmanbaria and another at Palsh in Narsingdi.

At present, Main activities of the project are the construction of 3.50 km long RCC base and 1 km long secondary RCC base irrigation drain, 8 km long brick tertiary irrigation drain, 3 siphons, 15 equalisers, 9 sluice gates, 7 regulators, 1 km long retaining and two walls, 20 foot bridges, culvert, cattle crossing and 80 km long canal dredging and construction of the embankment.


A Habiganj correspondent adds: A bumper production of Boro is likely in Habiganj district for adequate supply of fertiliser, electricity, irrigation facilities and timely rainfall.

According to the Habiganj District Office of the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) an extensive Boro cultivation target was taken up on 1,06,165 hectares of land this year in the district. It has exceeded to about 1,12,730 hectares of lands.

This year production target of the district is 0.5 million metric tonnes of paddy.

AWD irrigation technology benefiting farmers in northern region

AWD irrigation technology benefiting farmers in northern region

RANGPUR, April 27 (BSS) -Alternate Drying and Wetting (AWD) irrigation technology starts benefiting common farmers in farming Boro paddy by saving 30 percent irrigation water and reducing production costs, agri-experts and scientists said.

Mass adoption of the technology would benefit the nation in saving over Taka 6,000 crore annually while farming Boro on 4.85 million hectares only for reduced irrigation costs, additional paddy productions, less use of water, diesel and electricity.

The technology has been becoming popular and thousands of farmers have adopted the easiest technology during this Boro season in northern region, they said adding that further motivational activities could accelerate the pace of mass adoption of AWD.

The Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE), other agri- departments, Cereal System Initiative for South Asia (CSISA), Barind Multipurpose Development Authorities (BMDA), Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) and NGOs are disseminating the technology among the farmers.

Liaison Scientist of IRRI for Bangladesh Dr M A Hamid Miah said the technology can reduce five number irrigation compared to the farmers’ general practice, reduce 30 litres diesel consumption for irrigation and produce 500 kg more paddy per hectare.

Rice scientist and Dinajpur Hub Manger of CSISA Dr MA Mazid said adoption of the technology helps improving ecology, environment, bio- diversity and retarding desertification as 30 percent less water being lifted for irrigation saving its underground reserve.

“We have alone provided the technology among 537 farmers in seven northern districts under Dinajpur Hub of CSISA during this Boro season bringing 81 hectares Boro fields under AWD irrigation saving huge irrigation waters and farming costs,” he added.

He said that the farmers generally consume 3,000 to 5,000 litres irrigated waters to produce a kilogram paddy under different topographical locations, when the paddy plants hardly need 1,500 to 2,000 litres for the same if AWD technology used.

“The technology determines optimum irrigation times in Boro fields and it requires a 25 cm long PVC pipe or hollow bamboo pieces or even waste bottles of cold drinks like coco cola etc to be dug systematically inside the soil,” he said.

“The technology allows lifting 30 percent less underground waters annually for irrigation purposes to increase its reserves and get an uncountable benefit amid the formidable threats of climate changes,” Additional Director of DAE Mohsin Ali said.

“Sixty farmers under the leadership of Noren Master have got the benefit by adopting the technology in irrigating 60 bigha Boro fields with CSISA assistances alone in Sindur Kandi Block under Baliadangi upazila in Thakurgaon district this time,” Dr Mazid said.