The government has, so far, purchased around 13,230.42 tonnes of Aman rice during the current procurement drive contributing a lot towards ensuring food security amidst the pandemic situation.
As part of the nationwide ongoing Aman rice procurement drive, the government has procured the food grain from all eight districts in Rajshahi division, reports BSS.
Raihanul Kabir, Regional Controller of Food, said they procured around 12,836.04 tonnes of boiled rice and 394.38 tonnes of non-boiled sunned (Atap) rice till Monday last.
He said procurement drive of the newly harvested rice is going on in full-swing everywhere in the division that created a high hope of ensuring food security.
Kabir said the government has set a target of collecting 1,54,632 tonnes of boiled rice and 11,648 tonnes of non-boiled sunned rice during the current season.
Boiled rice is being procured at the rate of Taka 37 per kilogram while non-boiled rice at Taka 36 per kilogram.
Contracts have been signed with 879 millers for collecting 32,543.02 tonnes of boiled rice, while 26 other millers for supplying 1,706.24 tonnes of non-oiled rice.
Meanwhile, the farmers have harvested around 23.04 lakh tonnes of Transplanted Aman rice from 7.78 lakh hectares of land despite facing the adverse impact of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and devastating flood in Rajshahi division.
The Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) had set the target of producing around 22.19 lakh tonnes of Aman rice from around 7.66 lakh hectares of land in all eight districts in the division during the current season.
But, amazingly, the enthusiastic farmers have brought more than 7.77 lakh hectares of land exceeding the target by 11,540 hectares braving the current pandemic and disastrous situations.
Sirajul Islam, additional director of the DAE, said the farmers are happy with a good yield of transplanted Aman in the region.
He said the paddy farming has exceeded the target here significantly due to favorable weather along with frequent rainfall that contributed a lot towards successful completion of Aman seedlings transplantation on time.
Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) has released seven modern paddy varieties of the Aman paddy for the welfare of common farmers in the region particularly in its vast Barind tract, said Dr Fazlul Islam, principal scientific officer of BRRI.
The varieties are comparatively high yielding, drought tolerant and short duration than local variety ‘Swarna’ which is prone to various diseases and insects always affect the paddy.
Dr Islam said farmers have been encouraged to cultivate the latest varieties through various interventions including block demonstration, plots projection and supplying of seed free of cost.
He also said the modern varieties have opened up doors of enormous prospects in food security along with mitigating the crises of irrigation water.
Parija and Swarna varieties are being replaced by some of the developed varieties that can boost the Aman output, Dr Islam also mentioned.
Nazmul Hossain, 47, a farmer of Gohomabona village under Paba upazila, said he has got around six tonnes yield of Brri Dhan-75 variety per hectare of land this season.
Another farmer Jahangir Alam, 54, of Bhujail village under Nachole upazila, has yielded 5.5 to six tonnes of Brri Dhan-51 per hectare on an average.
Measures with initiative of both public and private sectors were taken to ensure supplementary irrigation in the paddy fields from the surface water resources if needed.
Alam said farmers face a great water crisis in panicle initiation and pre-ripening stages of the farming that needs supplementary irrigation on an urgent basis due to rain-less condition almost every year.
But, fortunately, the farmers didn’t face any adverse situation.
Surface water resources were also enriched through excavating a canal to ensure supplementary irrigation in transplanted Aman paddy, over 40,000 hectares of land in high Barind tract, said Jahangir Alam Khan, coordinatorof Integrated Water Resource Management project.