Farm mechanisation makes Rajshahi’s farm products profitable
By Md Aynal Haque
RAJSHAHI, Aug 10, 2023 (BSS)- Farm machinery has been making the agricultural products more profitable and value-added coupled with making the farmers happy everywhere in the region, including its vast Barind tract, during the last around 12 to 15 years.
The grassroots farmers are gradually being habituated and accustomed to the need-based machinery and technologies through diversified interventions so that they can derive total benefits out of it.
Shafiul Alam Mukta, a farmer of Pirijpur village under Godagari upazila, told BSS that mechanisation is being detected as an important tool for profitable and competitive agriculture and the need for mechanisation is increasing fast with the decrease of draft power.
He said without mechanisation it will not be possible to maintain multiple cropping patterns, which need quick land preparation, planting, weeding, harvesting and processing.
Mukta said the government has attached highest priority to the agriculture sector, adding that the farm-machinery distribution initiative has been contributing a lot towards boosting farm production.
He said that the farmers are seen facing labour-shortage and reduced harvesting cost of Boro paddy by 50 per cent using the combined harvester machines successfully.
Farmers can harvest and clean Boro paddy of one acre land within an hour using a combined harvester machine at the cost of only Taka 3,000, which is 50 percent less than the cost of harvesting and cleaning the same by engaging labourers.
Besides, transplantation of rice seedlings using rice trans-planter machines allows the farmers to cover more land area in less time with less labour, reducing burden, achieving uniform spacing and plant density and placing of desired number of seedlings.
The Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) has been expanding use of rice trans-planter machines ensuring uniform depth of transplanted seedling.
DAE Deputy Director Mozder Hossain told BSS that the present government has been working relentlessly for mechanizing the country’s farm sector fully.
“If we want to make agriculture profitable, we must use more machinery because the labour price is very high,” he added.
Around 86,430 farmers and 7350 others are being imparted agriculture technology training aimed at successful expansion of modern tech in the agriculture sector in Rajshahi division.
Besides, 93,780 people, including 86,430 farmers are being brought under a two-day need-based training course in different batches as 25,820 demonstrations of new technologies and crop varieties and plants are being done.
The promotional activities are being implemented on behalf of a project titled “Agriculture Development Project of Rajshahi Division through Extension of Modern Technology” being implemented for extensive agricultural production.
“We are arranging 2,582 field days in each of the project covering areas for reaching the modern farming technologies to the grassroots farmers so that they can derive total benefits of the project,” Dr SM Hasanuzzaman, Director of the project, said.
He said the five-year project is being implemented in 67 upazilas of all eight districts in the division at a cost of around Taka 147.03 crore since January, 2020.
Under the project, 201 farm machineries are being distributed among farmers’ organisations at 70 percent subsidy in order to reduce the farmers-level production cost through farm mechanisation.
Dr Hasanuzzaman said Rajshahi division has been contributing a lot towards meeting the country’s overall food demands as it has vast plains, vast barind tract, scores of beels and char areas of Padma and Jamuna and many small and big rivers.
It is also famous for production of all kinds of food grains, pulses, oils, vegetables, fruits and spices.
After meeting local demands, the region has been supplying food grains, fruits and vegetables to different parts of the country including the capital Dhaka regularly.
Rajshahi, Chapainawabganj and Naogaon districts are famous for mango production, while Natore and Pabna for litchi and Pabna, Bogura, Rajshahi, Natore and Joypurhat for vegetable production.
Upon successful implementation by December, 2024, the project will help increase cropping intensity to 242 percent from 237 percent through expansion of modern agriculture technologies.
Besides, the project is intended to enhance production of paddy, pulse and oilseed to 12 percent each, wheat and maize to 10 percent each, spice to 13 percent, vegetables to 15 percent and fruits to 14 percent.