Department of Agricultural Extension has adopted various time-fitting measures to attain the production target in all eight districts
Farmers and agriculturists expect the production of more than 967,000 tons of onion from 79,985 hectares of land in the Rajshahi region, including its vast Barind tract, during the current rabi season.
They also hope that the advanced variety of onion, cultivated on around 4,060 hectares of land in the Barind area alone, will be harvested within the next couple of weeks; this is expected to help reduce the price hike of the cooking ingredient.
The Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) has adopted various time-fitting measures, such as training farmers and providing them with incentives to attain the production target within the stipulated time, in all eight districts under the Rajshahi division.
It has set the target of producing 322,000 tons of onion from 25,190 hectares of land in four districts of Rajshahi Agricultural Zone, and around 645,000 tons from 54,795 hectares of land in four districts of Bogra Agricultural Zone.
In order to facilitate onion farming, around 2,500 farmers are being provided with seeds and fertilizers, valued at around Tk4,284,000. The farmers are receiving these free of cost so that they may cultivate onions on 2,500 hectares of land in the division under the current rabi season’s agricultural incentive program, said Deb Dulal Dhali, additional director of DAE.
Selim Reza, 48, a farmer of Panchandar village under Tanore upazila, said he has taken preparation for farming onion on ten decimal of land after harvesting Aman paddy this season.
He said there is a bright prospect of bringing more acreage under onion farming in the Barind region, as the farmers are very much interested to cultivate the crop due to its low water consumption.
Hafizur Rahman, a farmer of Mushribhuja village under Volahat upazila, said he is very happy cultivating various crops which consume less water, such as onions.
“I had to face many troubles to manage the irrigation water for Baro cultivation,” he said. Therefore, the cultivation of water-saving crops is much easier and suitable for the farmers of the area, he added.
Ishrafil Haque, a volunteer of Nizampur village under Nachole upazila, said the farming of crops which consume less water is increasing in the area every year.
Upazila Agriculture Officer Shamimul Islam said onion farming can be spread onto more land this year, in comparison to the previous year.
Prof Golam Sabbir Sattar Tapu, of the Department of Geology and Mining in Rajshahi University, said the promotion of farming crops which consume less water is a very positive step, and contributes towards for lessening the gradually mounting pressure on its underground water.
Various government and non-government entities concerned, including the Barind Multipurpose Development Authority (BMDA), have been conducting various motivational programs among the farmers in order to promote the farming of water-saving crops in the drought-prone Barind area.
More than 1,000 volunteers are motivating farmers to cultivate crops which consume less water, through water resource management, on behalf of the Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) project.
With the financial support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation since 2015, DASCOH Foundation has been implementing the IWRM project in 1,280 drought- hit villages of 39 Union Parishad and three municipalities in eight upazilas of Rajshahi, Naogaon, and Chapainawabganj districts.