In a move to secure the country’s food basket, the government is striving to attain a significant surplus of rice from the ongoing Aman season.
The agriculture ministry has set a target to produce an additional 1.75 million tonnes of rice from the Aman crop, the country’s second-largest rice-producing season, in light of rising global rice prices and potential adverse weather conditions.
The plan is to ramp up production to 17.17 million tonnes of rice from 5.93 million hectares of land in the fiscal year 2023-24, up from 15.426 million tonnes produced from 5.72 million hectares in the previous fiscal year, according to the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE).
Emphasis is being placed on cultivating specific varieties of rice, including BRRI rice 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 87, 90, 91, 93, 94, 95, BRRI hybrid rice 4, 6, and BINA rice 11, 16, 20, 22, and 23, to achieve the targeted boost in production, explained Tajul Islam Patwary, Director, Field Service Wing of DAE.
Although recent erratic weather conditions, including heatwaves and scarce rainfall, have delayed Aman cultivation, the recent rainfall has infused fresh optimism among farmers and government officials.
Agricultural economist Dr Jahangir Alam Khan highlighted the urgency of a good Aman harvest to secure the country’s food supply. “The world may witness extreme weather conditions in the next year,” he warned, urging increased domestic production to ensure food security.
The DAE is looking to augment the hybrid variety of Aman paddy cultivation to 0.357 million hectares, aiming for 1.379 million tonnes from it, a significant increase from last year’s target of 1.156 million tonnes.
As of August 13, cultivation of 86.43 percent of the hybrid variety, 57.03 percent Ufsi variety, and 20.35 percent local variety has been completed. Overall, 55.28 percent of Aman paddy cultivation, amounting to 3.280 million hectares, has been achieved.
Dr Md Shahjahan Kabir, Director General of the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI), spoke to the Daily Sun about how Aman rice production could be increased by expanding the plantation area in regions like the Char area of Noakhali and Barisal.
He highlighted the cultivation of short-life varieties such as BRRI rice 57, 62, 71, 75, in areas where early vegetables are grown, adding that production could further be boosted by cultivating BRRI’s innovative rice variety 91, along with other local varieties, without leaving Boro-producing land fallow during the Aman season.
Badal Chandra Biswas, Director General of the Department of Agricultural Extension, acknowledged to the Daily Sun that drought tendencies have affected farming in the country. Still, he assured that various initiatives have been undertaken to spur irrigation, as the Aman planting season is currently ongoing.
With 16,89,862 irrigation pumps in the country, and 7 lakh of those having been run for irrigation last year, he noted that the paddy cultivation cost would increase by Tk 2,500-3,000 per bigha due to irrigation expenses.
Earlier, the government provided Tk 332 million in incentives to 4.9 lakh small and marginal farmers, encouraging them to grow Aman paddy in additional areas. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, seeds and fertilisers will be supplied free of cost.
Source: The Daily SUN.