The higher irrigation cost has been a cause of concern for farmers across the country during the current Boro cultivation period.
In the situation, many farmers are showing their reluctance to bring more land under Boro cultivation this year.Even some of them are looking for alternative to Boro paddy, which comprises 55 percent of the overall rice supply in the country.
Farmers in the country’s northern region have expressed the fear as to whether they will get their returns from the investment in Boro farming amid the rising irrigation costs.
Raisul Alam, a farmer of Rangpur Sadar upazila, said the pump operators are charging Tk 100 as irrigation cost for one hour this season, against Tk 60 an hour last season.
Some farmers said the pump operators have increased the irrigation charge this year, which is much bigger than the last season’s.
Amid rising fuel and power prices, water costs are also increasing, some pump operators claimed.
Costs of other agriculture inputs, including seeds, pesticides and labour costs, have also increased slightly, farmers said.The farmers are also facing scarcity of Boro seedlings as the seed beds have been damaged due to prolonged cold spell and dense fog this year.
Agriculture Minister Begum Matia Chowdhury on Wednesday asked the farmers to cultivate local ‘Nerika’ variety paddy during the Aus season, as it consumes less water.
The government will support farmers in increasing the production of paddy in the country, she added. Matia made the remarks while addressing a press conference at her ministry office.
She said some 3,200 litres of water are needed to produce one kg of Boro paddy while the ‘Nerika’ variety needs less water. After a fall in Boro production by 9,43,000 tonnes against the target of 1,91,53,000 metric tonnes in fiscal 2016-17, the farmers across the country are cultivating Boro paddy amid high hopes.
This year the target for Boro production has been set at 19.41 million tonnes from 47.25 lakh hectares of land, said Md Abdul Hannan, director ( field service wing), Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE).
He said 52 percent of Boro plantation has been completed across the country, while 85 percent has been done in Haor area.
The Boro plantation will continue until March 15 across the country.