Experts laud farmers for boosting yield in changing climate

Dhaka,  Mon,  01 May 2017
Published : 14 Mar 2017, 21:15:19
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Experts laud farmers for boosting yield in changing climate

Call for expanding farming of less water-consuming crops in Barind area
RANGPUR, Mar 14 (BSS): Experts have lauded the success already achieved by Bangladesh in adapting to adverse impacts of climate change in the agriculture sector to keep cereal crop production increasing for ensuring national food security.

"The success achieved by farmers in cultivating flood-, drought- and saline- tolerant rice so far in Bangladesh by adapting to climate change impacts is highly appreciable," said former chief scientific officer of Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) Dr MA Mazid.

Side by side with enhancing cultivation of stress tolerant rice varieties, the farmers had also been expanding farming of drought- and disease- tolerant other cereal crops like wheat to increase food production in the country, he said.

"Adaptation to changing climate along with innovation of newer technologies and more stress tolerant crop varieties had become imperative to keep agro-productions increasing all the time for ensuring future food security," Dr Mazid viewed.

According to knowledge management and communication specialist of the climate resilient agriculture and food security project of World Bank Dr MG Neogi, cultivation of stress-tolerant cereal crops had already become popular among farmers in the country.

"The farmers have been successfully adapting to the changed periods of crop farming and harvesting amid changing climate through cultivating newly innovated stress tolerant and early crop varieties to increase food production," Neogi said.

Agriculture and Environment Coordinator of RDRS Bangladesh Mamunur Rashid said the farmers were laudably adapting to the adverse situations in keeping food production increasing as the changing climate might severely reduce agro-production.

Extension Agronomist Anarul Haque at Dinajpur Hub of International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center said the farmers started using high yielding and stress-tolerant crop seeds and conservation agriculture (CA)-based technologies to cope with the situation.

He said wheat production was being affected in the past due to adverse impacts of high temperature on its farming from flowering to ripening stages for late sowing of seed after harvesting late variety Aman, use of low quality local seeds and other reasons.

"However, the farmers are now getting bumper wheat production following expanded cultivation of the high yielding, disease-, stress- and high temperature- tolerant wheat varieties adopting the latest CA-based technologies,'' Mr Haque added.

Horticulture Specialist of the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) Khondker Md Mesbahul Islam said the changing climate had already affected the periods of appearance of different crop farming seasons causing concern to the agriculture sector.

"But, increasing cultivation of stress tolerant crops by the farmers adopting newer technologies has been keeping agro-production increasing despite chancing climate to maintain national food security," Mr Islam added.

Lauding the success already achieved by farmers in adapting to changing climate, Regional Additional Director of DAE Shah Alam stressed on innovating and using more effective technologies to keep cereal crop production increasing for food security.

Another report from Rajshahi adds: Emphasis should be given to the cultivation of drought-tolerant crops instead of depending on only Irri-Boro farming in Barind area to lessen the gradually mounting pressure on underground water, said farmers at a discussion.

Large-scale promotion of less-water consuming indigenous crops could be the effective means of mitigating water-stress condition in the drought-prone Barind area.

The observation came in a farmers' field day meeting titled "Promotion of Drought-tolerant Crop Varieties" at Omorpara village under Paba Upazila in the district on Monday.

Bangladesh Resource Centre for Indigenous Knowledge (BARCIK) and Farmers Unity jointly organised the meeting where more than 100 farmers both male and female attended. They also visited some plots of some of their drought-tolerant crops in the area.

National Agriculture Award Winner Farmer Abdur Rahim narrated the sufferings caused by the abnormal lowering of groundwater.

He mentioned that there are enormous scopes of increasing the acreage of various low-water consuming crops like gram, cumin, sesame, lentil, burley and chickpea in the Barind tract.

BARCIK Coordinator (Barind Region) Shahidul Islam, and farmers Rahima Begum, Babita Rani, Jewel Rana, Abdul Jabbar, Nila Begum and Shahara Khatun and President of Paba Press Club Kazi Nazmul Islam also spoke.

Abdur Rahim said the ongoing climate change at alarming rates has severely affected indigenous crops farming and its diversity creating a real threat to food production.

The developed countries should fulfill their commitment towards climate funding and ensure transparency in use of this fund.

There is no alternative to encourage the farmers to promote various cereal crops and vegetables instead of only Irri-Boro paddy on the dried land to face the water-stress condition as its groundwater table has gradually been declining.

He says legitimate rights of the farmers and others concerned should be protected for encouraging them towards boosting agricultural productions to meet up its gradually mounting demands.

Shahidul Islam read out the concept paper on the issue pointing out that the existing agricultural system has started facing a serious threat because of climate change.
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