RANGPUR: Hundreds of char people have started farming various crops, mostly adopting intercropping methods, on char lands and dried-up riverbeds in riverine areas of the agriculture region.
Officials of the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) said char people started sowing seeds of Rabi crops on char lands following the appearance of shoals with massive deposition of alluvial soils during recent floods.
"Crop farming continues and tender plants of some crops are growing superbly on char lands, shoals and silted-up beds of the Brahmaputra, Teesta, Dharla, Ghaghot, Jamuna, Kartoa and other rivers in the region," he said.
The landless and poor people and marginal farmers mostly cultivate potato, pumpkin, brinjal, green chili, onion, garlic and maize, wheat, Boro rice, groundnut, 'kawn', 'till', tobacco, banana, pulses and watermelon and many other crops on char lands.
"They will begin harvesting the cultivated crops from January next to end before the commencement of the rainy season," Ray said, adding that the flood-affected people of char areas are also cultivating crops on their flood-hit char lands," he said.
Senior Coordinator (Agriculture and Environment) of RDRS Bangladesh Agriculturist Mamunur Rashid said crop cultivation on char lands is expanding every year in Rangpur region benefiting thousands of char and riverside people.
Many people living in char villages of Gannarpar, Buridangi, Singhimari, Miazipara, Motukpur, Kolkond, Bagdohra, Nohali, Chhalapak and other char areas in Gangachara upazila of Rangpur are busy now in cultivating various crops on char lands.
Some 25,000 char households, who are beneficiaries of different NGOs and government organisations, are cultivating pumpkin, other vegetables and crops in over 250 char villages of all five districts in Rangpur agriculture region this season.
"More than 21,000 char families have already achieved self-reliance through farming various crops on char lands with GO-NGO assistance changing their living standard and livelihoods in the last 12 years," Rashid added.
Riverside and char people Mahtab Hossain, Lokman Hossain and Kobiza Khatun of Char Mohipur in Gangachara upazila of Rangpur said 120 families are cultivating various crops on char lands and dried-up riverbeds of the Teesta alone.
"A farmer generally spends Taka 20,000 for cultivating pumpkin on 200 raised sandbars to sell the produce at around Taka 50,000 and earn a profit of Taka 30,000 after completing harvest by March and April every year," said Anwarul of the village.
Farmers Bablu Mina, Rafikul Islam and Afzal Hossain of Char Gannarpar village in the same upazila said they are cultivating pumpkin, onion, potato, garlic and maize on the char lands and dried up beds of the Teesta.