The high-yielding mustard seeds from Bangladesh Agriculture Research Institute (BARI) have given farmers in Sharsha upazila of the district something to be cheerful about years after low yield.
Mustard has been cultivated on a record amount of field in the upazila this season. The vast mustard fields are also attracting bees, and farmers are optimistic about a buoyant production of both mustard and honey.One of the things that encouraged the record cultivation is the good price for mustard seeds in local markets.
Officials at the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) say they hope the mustard cultivators will make better profit this year.
DAE is eying cultivation on 1,500 hectares in 11 unions of Sharsha upazila – 200 hectares more than the previous year.
Farmers have cultivated high-yielding BARI-14, BARI-9, BINA-9/10, Sharisha-15, Shonali Sharisha (SS-75) and local TORI-7 mustard.
Low-yielding mustard variety discouraged many farmers from cultivating them over the years but high-yielding BARI-14 is changing the trend.
Crop from this newly-invented variety can be harvested in less than 80 days. The yield per hectare is about 1,500 kg. After mustard is cultivated, Boro seeds can be sown on those fields ensuring optimum use of croplands.“I’ve sown BARI-14 and BINA-9/10 varieties on two bighas. It cost me Tk 3,000 to Tk 4,000 per bigha,” said Nazrul Islam, a farmer of Shamolagachi village in the upazila. “I’m expecting bumper production.”
Mohiuddin, a farmer from Sharsha’s Ghiba village, said the DAE officials are encouraging them to cultivate mustard. “Paddy cultivation is quite good on the mustard fields and it costs less for Boro farming as well,” he said.
Sharsha DAE official Soutom Kumar Sheel said they are providing necessary advice to the farmers. “Mustard is recognised as a ‘profit crop’ as they can go for Boro farming after its harvest,” he said.
Since the plants of BARI-14 variety are long, their leaves fall on the ground and act as organic fertilizer, he described adding that less fertiliser is needed for Boro if it is cultivated after mustard.
“This year, we’ve so far helped 900 farmers in the upazila with ingredients for mustard cultivation. We expect a good yield this time,” he added.