Farmers and agriculturists expect production of more than 9.67 lakh tonnes of onion from 79,985 hectares of land in the region including its vast Barind tract during the current rabi season.
They also hoped that the advanced variety of onion, cultivated on around 4,060 hectares of land in the Barind area alone, will be harvested within the next couple of weeks that is presumed to help reduce the price hike of the cooking ingredient.
Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) has adopted various time-fitting measures including farmers training and providing incentives to them to attain the production target in all eight districts under Rajshahi division.
It has set target of producing 3.22 lakh tonnes of onion from 25,190 hectares of land in four districts of Rajshahi Agricultural Zone while around 6.45 tonnes from 54,795 hectares of land in four districts of Bogura Agricultural Zone.
Around 2,500 farmers are being given seeds and fertilizers valued at around Taka 42.84 lakh free of cost for onion farming on 2,500 hectares of land in the division under the current rabi season’s agricultural incentive programme, said Deb Dulal Dhali, Additional Director of DAE.
Selim Reza, 48, a farmer of Panchandar village under Tanore Upazila, said he has taken preparation for farming onion on ten decimal of land after harvesting aman paddy this season.
He said there is a bright prospect of bringing more acreage under onion farming in the Barind region as the farmers are very much interested to cultivate the crop for its feature to consume less water.
Hafizur Rahman, a farmer of Mushribhuja village under Volahat Upazila, said he is very happy cultivating various less-water consuming crops like onions.
“I had to face many troubles to manage irrigation water for boro cultivation,” he said. But, the cultivation of water-saving crops is suitable for the farmers of the area, he added.
Ishrafil Haque, a volunteer of Nizampur village under Nachole Upazila, said farming of less-water consuming crops is increasing in the area every year.
Upazila Agriculture Officer Shamimul Islam said onion farming can be spread onto more lands this year than that of the previous one.
Prof Golam Sabbir Sattar Tapu of Department of Geology and Mining in Rajshahi University said promotion of less-water consuming crops in Barind area is a good sign for lessening the gradually mounting pressure on its underground water.
Various government and non-government entities concerned including Barind Multipurpose Development Authority (BMDA) has been conducting various motivational programmes among the farmers to promote the water-saving crops in the drought-prone Barind area.
More than 1,000 volunteers are motivating farmers to cultivate less water consuming crops through water resource management on behalf of the ‘Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM)’ Project.
DASCOH Foundation has been implementing the IWRM project in 1,280 drought-hit villages of 39 Union Parishad and three municipalities in eight upazilas of Rajshahi, Naogaon and Chapainawabganj districts with financial support of Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation since 2015.