RANGPUR: Tobacco cultivation continues decreasing in Rangpur agriculture region consistently in the last 12 years because of growing awareness among farmers about negative impacts of tobacco products.
Officials of the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) said farmers are bringing more crop lands under farming of various substitute crops to tobacco and getting more profits and improving environment and public health, reports BSS.“However, many farmers are still cultivating tobacco on their crop lands after getting lucrative incentives from some tobacco companies,” said Deputy Director of the DAE at its regional office Agriculturist Md. Moniruzzaman.
The DAE, other agriculture and environment related organisations are conducting motivational activities to encourage farmers in farming substitute crops to tobacco to save soil fertility, public health and environment from hazards and pollution.
“However, farmers have cultivated tobacco on 11,932 hectares of land during the current 2020-2021 Rabi season in the region, less by 1,607 hectares than 13,539 hectares of land brought under its cultivation during the last 2019-2020 Rabi season,” he said.
Earlier, farmers cultivated tobacco on 13,787 hectares of land during the 2018-2019, on 13,058 hectares during the 2017-2018, on 14,225 hectares during the 2016-2017 and on 16,407 hectares during the 2015-2016 Rabi seasons.
Besides, tobacco was cultivated on 18,265 hectares of land during the 2014-2015, on 19,057 hectares during the 2013-2014, on 17,793 hectares during the 2012-2013 and on 12,665 hectares during the 2011-2012 Rabi seasons.
Farmers cultivated tobacco on 19,040 hectares during the 2010-2011 and on 33,049 hectares of land during the 2009-2010 Rabi seasons in the region.“The statistics show that farmers are switching over to farming substitute crops, leaving farming tobacco on their crop lands in the region almost every year during the last one era,” Moniruzzaman said.
Farmer Echhahaq Ali of village Kathihara in Mominpur union of Rangpur Sadar upazila said he left tobacco cultivation four years ago and started cultivating other winter crops on his crop lands.
Similarly, farmers Yakub Ali and Azizul Haque of the same village said they left tobacco farming some four years ago and switched over to cultivating to substitute crops to save public and soil health and environment.
Farmers Dulal Hossain, Aiyub Ali, Abdul Khaleque and Yasin Ali of the same village said tobacco farming is profitable and they have cultivated tobacco on one acre to three acres of land this season like in the previous years.
They have cultivated tobacco on their crop lands after getting incentives, inputs, cost- free seedlings and fertilizers as well as assurance of lucrative price of their produced tobacco leaves from different tobacco companies.
Talking to BSS, noted Agriculturist Dr Md Abdul Mazid, who got the Independence Medal 2018 (food security), said tobacco farming still poses a threat to cereal crop production, national food security, environment and human and soil health.
He suggested farmers to earn more profits through cultivating wheat, sugarcane, hybrid variety mustard and other winter crops in mixed relay methods with other crops using the latest technologies.