Wide-range expansion of wheat farming can mitigate the existing water-stress condition in the highly elevated Barind tract, as wheat is an environment friendly crop, experts said on Tuesday.
They viewed that the time had come to enhance the acreage of wheat farming instead of only depending on Irri-Boro rice in the dried area to ensure food security amid the adverse impact of climate change.
Apart from this, they said about seven to eight bighas of wheat could be cultivated with the irrigated water of only one bigha of Boro rice through soil moisture utilisation and the best uses of modern technologies.
Agriculturist Abu Muhammad Musa identically said the adverse impact of climate change had been posing a serious threat to the irrigation dependent crops, particularly Irri-Boro rice, as both the underground and surface water resources were gradually declining.
Impact of climate change on ecology is diverse. It affects soil salinity, drought, crop survival, irrigation economy, fresh water availability and so on.
Quoting research findings on the issue, Musa said the dried area comprising of Rajshahi, Chapainawabganj and Naogaon districts had been seeing drought conditions with gradual increase of extreme weather conditions, sharp decline in groundwater table and decreasing rate of rainfall.
Dr Jalal Uddin, director of Wheat Research Station, said wheat plays an important role to ensure food security, adding that its consumption was increasing day by day.
He, however, said the Rajshahi region contributes 35% of total area and 44% of total production. Not only that, there are around 50,000 hectares of more rain fed land in the Barind area and there have been bright prospects of bringing the land under wheat cultivation.
Dr Ilias Hossain, senior scientific officer of Regional Wheat Research Centre, viewed water shortage was gradually becoming acute in the drought-prone Barind area due to scanty rainfall and excessive extraction of groundwater for irrigation as well as adverse impacts of climate change.
Simultaneously, the unprecedented fall of water level in the river Padma and its tributaries and other wetlands has created an adverse impact on the livelihood of people especially farmers and other marginal groups.