Farmers and agriculture experts recently visit the field of Swarna Sub1, a flood newly developed flood tolerant variety of paddy, as the 1.5 bigha land at Hamindpur village in Sadullapur upazila of Gaibandha showed good yield despite remaining under floodwater for 17 days in August last year.Photo: STAR
Two thousand farmers will get seeds of Swarna, a flood tolerant variety of paddy, for cultivation on their land this year as the newly developed variety has seen successful experimental cultivation in Sadullapur upazila of Gaibandha district.
"I gave up the hope of getting any yield from my land as paddy seedlings went under water on August 9 and remained submerged for 17 days. But to my surprise the seedlings grew green again after the flood. Still I can't believe I have got 18 maunds of paddy from there," said Biplob Sarker, a small farmer of Hamindpur village in Sadullapur upazila.
International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) developed flood tolerant paddy Swarna Sub1 while NGOs RDRS Bangladesh and Udyog Foundation have promoted its cultivation in the country's northern district.
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) provided financial assistance through IRRI to increase seed production and disseminate the technology under its Stress Tolerant Rice for Poor Farmers in Africa & South Asia (Strasa) programme.
RDRS Bangladesh has introduced paddy Swarna Sub1 for the first time in Sadullapur upazila of Gaibandha through farmer's field school under Strasa-BMG project.
Some 10,000 kgs of paddy seeds of the new variety will be distributed among 2,000 farmers for cultivation on 2,000 bighas of land this year, said MG Neogi, head of agriculture at the RDRS.
"A research project was taken up in this regard in 2002. The research reached its final stage in 2006. The new variety of paddy was experimentally cultivated in India and the Philippines in 2007," he said.
Agriculturist Shamsul Arefin, manager (Crop) of RDRS Bangladesh, said they have been working with the Rangpur regional station of BRRI on four species of flood tolerant paddy -- Swarna Sub1, Shambamasuri Sub1, IR64 Sub1 and BR11 Sub1.
"We selected a few specific flood-prone areas under Sadullapur upazila this aman season and distributed seeds of the new variety among 10 small farmers, who usually lose crops due to flooding. This time the variety was cultivated on 3.96 acres of land in the area," Arefin said.
The flood tolerant paddy will be cultivated extensively soon after getting recognition from the government, he said.
Successful cultivation of flood tolerant Swarna Sub1 paddy has drawn attention of local people as they have to face flood almost every year, said Obaidur Rahman, Sadullapur upazila agriculture officer.