Responding to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s call, a women’s group in Gopalganj has gone to the field to grow four crops, instead of three, on the same land every year.
This year, they have grown early mustard on 25 hectares of land and hope their income will be doubled as they choose not to leave the land empty.
Some 30 women formed a team at Bhatiapara block under Gobra Union of Gopalganj Sadar Upazila and cultivated BARI mustard-14 and BARI mustard-17, developed by the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute on 25 hectares of land.
These high-yield varieties are matured now. Looking at the mustard field, the group members expect to get 1.5-1.8 tons of mustard per hectare.
Lily Biswas, a member of the Bhatiapara women’s group, said that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is a woman. “Inspired by her guidance, I started working to increase crop production without sitting at home. We organized 30 women and planted mustard seeds on 25 hectares of land under the Oil Crops Production Enhancement Scheme of the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE).”
The Sadar Upazila DAE office has given them seeds, chemical and organic fertilizers, agricultural tools, and training.
“On their advice, I simultaneously planted high-yielding and short-lived mustard on 25 hectares of land on November 10. Mustard cultivation is profitable. Irrigation and maintenance costs are very low. So the profit of mustard is very high compared to other crops.”
She explains that, after harvesting mustard, she will cultivate Boro paddy, then jute and finally a short-lived Aman paddy variety.
“Earlier, three crops were grown on this land. Now I can do four crops in a year. This will increase the production of crops and double the income. Our socio-economic status will change,” she told Dhaka Tribune.
Farmer Rama Paik of Bhatiapara block said: “By following the advice of the agriculture officers, we are going to get a bumper yield of mustard. In this way, our income will increase significantly if we adopt modern farming techniques.”
Sadar Upazila Agriculture Officer Mafroza Akhtar and Gobra Union Assistant Agriculture Officer Parbati Bairagi helped form the group.
“The farmers of Gobra Union are growing gold in the fields. The price of edible oil is very good in the market. So the farmers’ group cultivated mustard eagerly and the yield is also good,” said Parbati Bairagi.
She said other farmers in the area are also showing interest in profitable mustard cultivation. This will increase the cultivation of mustard next year.
Gopalganj Agricultural Research Institute Senior Scientific Officer Dr HM Khairul Basar said the conventional variety of mustard yields only 600-800kg per hectare. But BARI mustard-14 and BARI mustard-17 yield 1.5 to 1.8 tons per hectare.
“Moreover, uric acid in BARI mustard seeds is less than 1%. So this mustard oil is safe. It does not harm the human body. And since it has no rust, it can be consumed safely as an edible oil.”
On the other hand, the local mustard varieties have very high uric acid levels.
BARI mustard contains 45% to 50% oil. By increasing the cultivation of this mustard, it is possible to reduce the import dependence on edible oil.
Sadar Upazila Agriculture Officer Mafroza Akhtar said the government has emphasized increasing oil crop production to reduce edible oil import dependency. “Therefore, we have increased the plantation of BARI Mustard with high yield and short life span in Gopalganj Sadar Upazila following the government’s instructions.”
She said the women’s group was showing an outstanding performance in the area. “By increasing crop production in this way, we want to ensure food and nutrition security based on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s Vision 2041. We are working tirelessly to make agriculture profitable and to double the income of farmers,” she added.