RAJSHAHI: Around 2,500 farmers have changed their fortunes by engaging in integrated farming of paddy and fish in Beelsutir Beel at Dweep Pur Union of Bagmara Upazila in the district.
“We have taken lease of water body of the beel for six years in 2018,” said Amulya Hawlader, President of Beelsutir Beel Fishermen Cooperative Society.
Landowners of the beel have also engaged in the process and are getting equal benefits either directly or indirectly.
Amulya said they have also formed a 326-member committee on “Beelsuti Beel Fish Farming Project” aimed at further expediting productivity in a planned way.
On behalf of the project, irrigation facilities are being ensured to the farmlands of the members free of cost contributing a lot towards boosting the yield of both paddy and fish round the year, he added.
Syed Ali, a resident of Dweep Pur village, said they have got the scopes of farming potato, onion, maize and boro and aush paddy in an integrated method.
Director of the project and Dweeppur Union Parishad Chairman Mukhlesur Rahman told that three deep tube-wells were installed in the beel to ensure the cost-free irrigation facilities.
Many people have set up small-scale poultry farms and vegetable gardens surrounding their ponds as they get extra income from the composite farming.
Shafiqul Islam, a fish farmer of Keshorhat village under Mohanpur Upazila, has five big size ponds with around 80 bigha of water area.
He has established chicken and duck farms and vegetable gardens in surrounding areas. He has been supplying live fish to Dhaka by truck regularly.
Islam earned around Taka one crore from the integrated farming project during last around eight years, creating employment opportunities for many people.
Anwar Hossain, another farmer of Boilsingh area under Bagmara Upazila, has become an icon in the field of composite farming of fish, poultry birds and vegetables playing a vital role towards boosting local economy. He has integrated fish farming in 25 ponds and has contributed to bolstering local economy.
Hossain said training and technical support would help increase the knowledge of farmers, improve productivity and reduce risks. Ashraf Ali of Bardhanpur village under Durgapur upazila has earned success through composite fish farming in 25 ponds for the last around 20 years.
He set up a fish feed factory in his locality with his earnings.
General Secretary of District Fish Farmers Association Sohrab Hossain here told that the farmers are being habituated and interested in modern fish farming leaving behind the conventional method.
There is no alternative to come out from the conventional practice to produce safe and chemical-free fish, he opined.
Divisional Deputy Director of the Department of Fisheries Tofazuddin Ahmed said Rajshahi division has attained significant success in the field of composite fish farming as it is the suitable place for the venture.