Concerted efforts needed for boosting mashkalai yield
08 November 2015, Nirapad News: Collective efforts of both farmers and scientists could be the effective means of boosting acreage and yield of mashkalai (black gram) farming through the best uses of potentialities and high yielding variety, BARIMASH-3, in the region, said Engr Dr Janan Ranjan Sil.
Acreage of the variety released by Bangladesh Agriculture Research Institute (BARI) should be enhanced to a greater extent to face the existing challenges of clime change impact, he said.
Dr Ranjan Sil, Additional Secretary to the Ministry of Forest and Environment was addressing a farmers’ field day program styled “Farming Expansion of BARIMASH-3 in Char Areas” held at Charmohanpur Ghorapakhia area under Shibgonj upazila in Chapinawabganj district yesterday as chief guest.
Barind Station of On Farm Research Division (OFRD) of BARI organized the field day in association with Sustainable Crop Innovation in Drought-prone Barind area to Mitigate Climate Change Impact Project and Bangladesh Climate Change Trust Fund (BCCTF).
Engr Sil, also Managing Director of BCCTF, urged the scientists and farmers concerned to put in their best efforts for successful promotion of the innovated crop varieties which are suitable for the region.
Abi Abdullah, Deputy Director (Admin and Finance) of BCCTF, addressed the discussion as special guest with Apurba Kanti Choudhury, Principal Scientific Officer of BARI, in the chair.
BARI Principal Scientific Officers Dr Alim Uddin and Dr Ilias Hossain, Additional Deputy Director of Department of Agriculture Extension Monzurul Huda and OFRD Senior Scientific Officer and Head of OFRD Barind Center Dr Shakhawat Hossain and its Scientific Officer Enayet Ali Pramanik also spoke.
Dr Shakhawat Hossain told the meeting that more than 100 bighas of char lands of the Padma and Mohananda rivers were brought under the mash-kalai farming this season with OFRD initiatives.
Huge land of the char area remained fallow after receding floodwater every year. So, there is an enormous scope of elevating socio-economic condition of the local community through the best uses of the fallow lands if those were brought under BARIMASH-3 farming.
He referred to various salient features of the cash crops. He said: “No additional cost for fertilizer, pesticide and irrigation is needed to cultivate this short-term cash crop”.
Terming it an eco-friendly, he said the farming is most effectual for boosting soil fertility. Requisite seeds were distributed among 200 farmers for cultivating 100 acres of land in only Mohanpur area.
Traditionally, the Rajshahi and Chapainawabganj districts along with their vast char areas are very much popular for mash-kalai farming and its production.
To make the farming popular and profitable at the growers’ level, the OFRD has started conducting various programmes including farmers’ motivation and training, field demonstration and supplying necessary inputs like seed the years ahead.
Dr Hossain said OFRD has planned to bring 1,000 bigha of land under the cash crop cultivation in preliminary stage. “We will impart training to 200 farmers to elevate their knowledge of how to cultivate the cash crop using modern methods,” he said.
Sharing his experience, Tashem Uddin, a local farmer, said in previous time the farmers used to cultivate indigenous mash-kalai varieties in a scattered way and many of the lands remained fallow.
Apart from this, yield of those was very poor, hardly two and a half mounds per bigha. After getting seeds from OFRD and according to its guidelines, they have been cultivating the new variety since last year, he added.
The farmers are very much interested to boost its farming in the years to come as the variety’s yield is more than four to five mounds per bigha.
There is no additional cost for mash-kalai production excepting only one or two plowings. Cost of one bigha of farming is around Taka 750 whereas its outcome can fetch Taka 7,000 to 8000.