It was a joyful day for over a thousand farmers from Derai and Dakshin upazilas who joined a crop cutting event and farmers' rally in April. The festive event, organized to mark the harvest of two early varieties of boro paddy, was held under the open sky at the remote village of Taila under Dakshin upazila of Sunamganj district. BRI-28 and BRI-45 varities were cultivated successfully under a special program styled 'Economic Empowerment of the Poorest (EEP)', being implemented jointly by the government and some other organizations in the region.
Released by the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI), the two varieties are suitable for cultivation since these can be harvested much ahead of the Boro season in the haor (low-lying) region like in the Sunamganj district, which is prone to early flooding every year. Kulsuma Begum of village Durgapur said that during periods of end Choitra and Baishakh (March-April) almost every year, the region suffers a lot and apprehend early floods since the whole region is low-lying and prone to flooding. “Boro paddy is the only crop of ours,” said farmer Md. Azizur Rahman, “so we need the early harvest varieties, which can be cropped before major natural calamity like hailstorms and floods appear.”
Along with the Bangladesh Rice Reaearch Institute (BRRI), DAE and BADC, Helvetas Swiss Inter cooperation, an international development organization, has been working in Sunamganj in acquainting farmers with early varieties of Boro paddy since 2005, the organizers informed. Deputy Commissioner of Sunamganj, Md. Yamin Chowdhury, was the chief guest at the event while Inter Cooperation's Project Manager Salah Uddin, upazila chairman Abul Kalam, farmers Kulsuma Begum and Md. Azizur Rahman also addressed the farmers. The chief guest said the advanced varieties of paddy needs to be popularized in a big way in the haor (low-lying) region of the country since the farmers here suffer crop loss every year due to early floods.
Chairing the rally, Deputy Director of DAE, Sunamganj,Md. Abul Hashem said that the per hectare yield of these varieties varies from 4.5 tons to 5.5 tons. But these are much safer for the farmers of the haor region. Boro paddy was cultivated on 2,16,648 hectares, including 93,158 hectares of BRI-28 and 7600 hectraes of BRI-45 of land, targeting the total yield at 8.5 lakh metric ton in the district. As the 2 varieties are drawing farmers' interest, BADC this year supplied 1,712 tons of seeds in the district this season.