Wheat farming can mitigate water-stress condition: Experts

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RAJSHAHI, March 19, 2016 (BSS) – Substantial and sustainable expansion of wheat farming can mitigate the existing water-stress condition in the high Barind tract as wheat is environment friendly crop, researchers and scientists here said yesterday.

They viewed time has come to enhance 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.

They were addressing a field day-cum-farmers gathering titled “Improving Crop and Soil Productivity with saving Inputs through Conservation Agriculture” in Taldhari area under Godagari Upazila of the district yesterday afternoon.

Regional Wheat Research Center (RWRC) organized the programme in association with Krishi Goveshona Foundation (KGF) disseminating ideas and knowledge of conservation agriculture among the farmers. KGF Programme Director Dr Abdur Razzaque addressed the meeting while Additional Director of Department of Agriculture Extension Fazlur Rahman and Deputy Director Dev Dulal Dhali spoke as special guests with Dr Ilias Hossain, Principal Scientific Officer of RWRC, in the chair.

Upazila Agriculture Officer Towfiqur Rahman, RWRC Senior Scientific Officer Nur-E-Alam Siddiqui and Scientific Officer Zahidul Islam also spoke.

Dr Abdur Razzaque mentioned that seven to eight bighas of wheat could be cultivated with the irrigated water of only one bigha of boro rice through soil moisture utilization and the best uses of the modern technologies.

Under the conventional system, the single largest constraint requires planting of wheat in the region late in winter, leading to a poor yield. Sowing bed could be a good alternative to the region’s dominant wet culture, he said.

Dr Razzaque suggested development and dissemination of appropriate farm machinery like power tiller operated seeder, strip till and zero till, bed planter, reaper and thresher to enhance the farm production especially wheat.

Dr Ilias Hossain said promotion of modern technologies in wheat farming could be the effective means of boosting wheat yield as a whole.

Disseminating ideas of modern technologies among the field level agricultural officials and farmers on how to expand the wheat cultivation in the drought-prone area has become indispensable.

Dr Ilias said wheat plays an important role to ensure food security as its consumption is increasing day by day. But, Bangladesh produces hardly 10 lakh tonnes of wheat against the demand of around 40 lakh tonnes annually.

He, however, said Rajshahi region contributes 35 percent of total area and 44 percent of total production. Not only that, there are around 50,000 hectares of more rain fed land in the high barind area and there has been a bright prospects of bringing the huge land under wheat cultivation.

More emphasis should be given on expansion of short duration and high-yielding wheat varieties. Seed preservation and production training need to be strengthened.

GO-NGO collaboration has become an urgent need for the new variety expansion. More support from international research organizations including CIMMYT has become required for germ-plasm especially heat- tolerant variety adoption together with yield gap minimization in the farmers field.

Dr Hossian recommended minimising the constraints for the sake of sustainable wheat production. Farmers needed to be aware about the resource conserving technologies and modern scientific methods so that wheat production remained

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