RAJSHAHI: Farmers along with field level agricultural extension officials, scientists and researchers are now expecting bumper production of chickpea commonly known as ‘chhola’ or ‘boot’ in the region including its vast Barind tract.
According to the sources concerned, the prediction has become surfaced amidst suitable climate and topographical condition for the cash crop farming, reports BSS.Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) has set a target of producing 1869 tonnes of chickpea from 1,563 hectares of land in eight districts under Rajshahi division this year.
Farmers are happy with the satisfactory yield of chickpea in the region for the last couple of years.
Abdus Samad, a farmer of Luxmipur village under Godagari Upazila in the district, cultivated chickpea on one bigha of land and got yield worth Taka 7,000 by spending only Taka 2,500 last year. He also brought two bighas of land under the crop farming this year.
Samad says chickpea farming is very much cost-effective as it is one of the less-water consuming crops. Like him, many other farmers also harvested better yields in recent years generating a prediction of expanding the cash crop farming.
Various research and government and non-government entities including Pulse Research Centre (PRC) and On Farm Research Division (OFRD) of Bangladesh Agriculture Research Institute are working here to promote chickpea farming in the region.
Dr Shakhawat Hossain, Senior Scientific Officer of OFRD (Barind Centre), said there are prospects of producing additional 10,000 tonnes of the pulse including chickpea in the high Barind tract comprising Rajshahi, Naogaon and Chapainawabganj districts.“We are conducting effective programmes to motivate the farmers to cultivate chickpea on the targeted lands to meet the gradually increasing demands for pulse,” he said referring to various salient features of the cash crop.
He said: “No additional cost for fertilizer, pesticide and irrigation is needed to cultivate this sort-term cash crop”.
Dr Hossain viewed around 20,000 bighas of land remains fallow for more than three months after harvesting of transplanted Aman paddy every year.
“We are putting in our level best efforts to bring the huge lands under the farming of lentil, chickpea and grasspea,” he added.
To make the farming popular and profitable at the grassroots level, the OFRD and PRC has started conducting various programmes including farmers’ motivation and training, field demonstration and supplying necessary inputs like seed, fertilizer and pesticide.
He also says a new variety of chickpea, which is heat-tolerant, resistant to various diseases and also high-yielding, has been released as BARI Chola-10 in the region recently. This variety is expected to provide some relief to farmers in the drought-prone area, which is vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change.