Dhaka, Bangladesh
Farmers prefer cultivation of food crops to tobacco farming

Farmers prefer cultivation of food crops to tobacco farming

Our Correspondent TANGAIL, Feb 10: Farmers in char (land emerged from riverbed) areas of Jamuna and Dhaleswari rivers in Bhuapur and Nagarpur upazilas are cultivating more maize this year as they were out of cultivation of harmful tobacco. Earlier, the farmers had been cultivating tobacco on these lands after getting advance money from the tobacco companies, hoping to get more profit from it than from other crops. District Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) Deputy Director (DD) Abdur Razzak told farmers about the bad effects of tobacco cultivation, including damaging the environment and the fertility of the land, as well as posing health hazards. DAE officials motivated the marginal farmers to cultivate maize for getting more profit than from tobacco. District Sub-Assistant Agriculture Officer of DAE Shariful Islam said maize was cultivated on 2,841 hectares of land in nine out of twelve upazilas in the district, while the production target was 11,000 tonnes. The target for cultivation was 1,450 hectares in Nagarpur upazila, 1,075 hectares in Bhuapur, 125 hectares in Mirzapur, 120 hectares in Sadar, nine hectares in Basail, 22 hectares in Kalihati, eight hectares in Ghatail, 17 hectares in Delduar and 15 hectares in Gopalpur upazilas. Bhuapur Upazila Agriculture Officer Mohammad Ziaur Rahman said maize was cultivated on 1,248 hectares of land in the upazila, exceeding the target. Farmers cultivated different varities of maize -- 984, 987, ACI 111, Elite, Korobi 100 and Miracle -- this year, he added. The farmers are expecting to get bumper production of the crop -- around 30 maunds per bigha -- if the weather remains favourable. They also said the land of char areas is very favourable for maize cultivation. Normally, maize cultivation starts in the area during November and the crop is harvested during March, they added. Farmer Abdul Latif of Kalipur village in Bhuapur said he has cultivated maize on his three bighas of land this year leaving tobacco cultivation. "I hope I can make up the loss I suffered due to flood and heavy rain last year," he added. Farmer Wahed Ali of Razapur village said he is expecting for a good yield of maize this season. "Earlier, pests attacked my maize field due to the damp weather, but the problem was solved after getting advice from the local agriculture officials," he added. DD Abdur Razzak said most of the farmers have become aware of the bad effects of tobacco cultivation due to regular counseling and monitoring by the local agriculture officials. "Maize was cultivated on more land in the district this year and we hope the farmers will get bumper production," he added.

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