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Prospect of lentil production bright in Rajshahi region

RAJSHAHI, Jan 2, 2017 (BSS) - Prospects of boosting additional around one lakh tons of lentil output is bright in the region including the vast barind tract.

Agricultural extension officials, scientists and researchers concerned revealed the prospect referring to some on-farm research findings. They evaluated a set of techniques to address how to use residual soil moisture in rain-fed areas, higher cost of production and low productivity due to late planting in the region.

They stressed on substantial and sustainable promotion of high yielding varieties and modern farming technologies to materialize the existing potentialities for meeting up the country's gradually increasing demand of the cereal crop.

Around 80,000 hectares of land remain fallow for more than three months after the harvest of transplanted aman paddy every year. There has been a bright scope of bringing the huge land under the pulse farming for the best uses of those alongside increasing cropping intensity amid the current water-stress condition.

Dr Ilias Hossain, Principal Scientific Officer of Regional Wheat Research Center (RWRC), said recent research has uncovered two new high-yielding, disease-resistant varieties of lentil which has the potential to significantly raise productivity and strengthen food and nutritional security in Bangladesh.

There are enormous prospects of harvesting additional one lakh tonnes of lentil every year including the high barind tract comprising Rajshahi, Naogaon and Chapainawabgonj districts.

He said there should be adequate measures for motivating the farmers to make the farming popular and profitable at the growers' level. The farmers need power tiller operated seeder and bed-planter machines on subsidized rate for successful promotion of farming mechanizations for expansion and adoption of conservation agriculture (CA) system.

RWRC has started conducting various programmes including farmers'
motivation and training, field demonstration and supplying necessary inputs like seed in association with International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) and Krishi Gobeshona Foundation.

He said "No additional cost for fertilizer, pesticide and irrigation is needed to cultivate this short-term cash crop".

Strip tillage is being replaced by existing conventional system with higher crop productivity, which reduces cost of planting. Residual soil moisture can be utilized through strip tillage technique by advancing the seeding of wheat and lentil after T. Aman harvest.

ATM Rafiqul Islam, Project Director (Agriculture) of Barind Multipurpose Development Authority, said the cultivation of pulse has been playing a significant role in crop intensity and diversification. As the crop is short-term, it could be cultivated easily on the rice-based cropping pattern.

The country has to import huge quantity of pulses especially lentil to meet up its domestic demand. Since there is a bright prospect of increasing its acreage, lentil could be produced in larger amount with less production cost.