According to suggestions prescribed by agriculturists, the grassroots farmers are seen opting for cultivating various less-water consuming and drought tolerant crops.
Jatidhar Barman, a farmer of Bodyapur village in Badhair union under Tanore upazila in Rajshahi district, said irrigation commanding area has gradually been reducing in the area.
He said many farmers being failed to get water for irrigation to paddy field are seen cultivating less-water consuming crops like wheat, mustard,maize and pulses.
Dr Shakhawat Hossain, senior scientific officer of On-farm Research Division of BARI, said acreage of the less-water consuming and drought-tolerant crops is gradually rising in the region.
He added that emphasis is being given to the less-irrigation consuming cereal crops to lessen the gradually mounting pressure on underground water.
He viewed that large-scale promotion of less-water consuming crops could be the effective means of mitigating water-stress condition in the drought-prone Barind area. Referring to various research findings, he mentioned that there are enormous scopes of increasing the acreage of various low-water consuming crops like wheat, black gram, sesame, lentil, maize and mugdal in the highBarind tract.
Dr Ilias Hossain, principal scientific officer of Bangladesh Wheat and Maize Research Institute, said wheat could be cultivated on seven to eight bighas of land with same amount of irrigation-water needed to irrigate one bigha of Boro rice through soil moisture utilization and the best uses of the modern technologies.
Wheat plays an important role in ensuring food security as its consumption is increasing day by day. But, Bangladesh produces hardly 10 lakh tonnes of wheat against the demand of around 40 lakh tonnes annually.
Prof Chowdhury Sarwar Jahan of Department of Geology and Mining in Rajshahi University said the Barind Multipurpose Development Authority (BMDA) has a significant contribution toward making the Barind area a multiple cropping zone at present instead of single one through providing irrigation.
But, time has come to reduce the farming of Irri-Boro paddy through promoting the less-water consuming wheat, maize, pulses,
oilseed and spices, he said adding, “Changing the mandate of BMDA has become an urgent need”.Dr Chowdhury opined that there is no alternative to encourage the farmers to promote various cereal crops and vegetables instead of only Irri-Boro
paddy on the dried land to face the water-stress condition as its groundwater table has gradually been declining.