Sustainable expansion of wheat farming stressed

21 February, 2021 12:00 AM printer

RAJSHAHI: Substantial and sustainable expansion of wheat farming can mitigate the existing stressed environment in the high Barind tract as wheat is an environment friendly crop, researchers and scientists here said.

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 and Covid-19 pandemic.

They came up with the observation while addressing a regional workshop styled “Wheat Farming Extension in Non-conventional Stressed Environment” in Rajshahi city on Friday.

Regional Station of Bangladesh Wheat and Maize Research Institute (BWMRI) hosted the workshop at the conference hall of Barind Multipurpose Development Authority (BMDA). More than 50 agricultural extension and research organizations and other stakeholders joined the workshop, reports BSS.

Additional Secretary (Research) to the Ministry of Agriculture Komolaranjan Das and BMDA Executive Director Shayam Kishore Roy addressed the meeting as chief and special guests respectively with BWMRI Director General Dr Israil Hossain in the chair.

BWMRI Principal Scientific Officer Dr Ilias Hossain welcomed the participants.

Director of Bangladesh Sugar Crop Research Institute Dr Samajit Kumar Paul, Additional Director of the Department of Agriculture Extension Sirajul Islam and BMDA Superintending Engineer Abdur Rashid also spoke.

On the occasion, BWMRI Senior Scientific Officer Dr Mahfuz Bazzaj presented a keynote paper on the topic giving an overview of the country’s present condition of wheat farming along with its challenges and prospects.

In his remarks, Komolaranjan Dash 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 wheat farm production.

He 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.

Shayam Kishore Roy said wheat plays an important role to ensure food security as its consumption is increasing day by day. But, Bangladesh produces hardly 12 lakh tonnes of wheat against the demand of around 70 lakh tonnes annually.

He, however, said the 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 prospect 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 organisations including CIMMYT has become required for germ-plasm especially heat- tolerant variety adoption together with yield gap minimisation in the farmers field.

He 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 technologically sound, economically viable, socially acceptable and environmentally secure.