Cultivation of harmful crop tobacco continues with increasing trend in Lalmonirhat as growers are getting lucrative offers from different tobacco companies.
Almost all the fields have been covered with the harmful crop at the villages in the district from January to April every year.
Although farmers now understand the harmfulness of tobacco farming, they continue cultivating the crop as different tobacco companies are tempting them with incentives including free seeds, fertilisers and technical support.
Above all, growers are showing much interest in farming tobacco as it is more profitable than other crops, said locals.
"Tobacco cultivation needs a lot of hard work. More fertiliser is required for applying in tobacco farming but we are still benefiting from tobacco cultivation. As tobacco cultivation earns us good profit, we are giving importance to tobacco farming rather than other crops," said Nabir Uddin, a farmer of Sarpukur village in Aditmari upazila.
"Of course, the tobacco company supports us in many ways for the cultivation of tobacco. We get seeds and fertilisers free of cost," he said.
Without the cooperation and assistance of the tobacco company, it would not be possible for them to produce quality tobacco, said Saber Ali, another farmer of the same village.
All the family members, including his children, work at the field as tobacco farming earns them good profit, said Saber Ali.
An official of Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) in the district said tobacco has been cultivated on 9,100 hectares of land this time, which was 8,950 hectares last year.
If the tobacco companies do not stop their activities, tobacco cultivation will increase in the district day by day, said journalist Majed Masud, a member of Lalmonirhat district unit of Anti-tobacco Media Alliance.
Upazila Agriculture Officer of Lalmonirhat Sadar Enamul Haque said they are trying their best to discourage farmers from farming tobacco but the growers do not listen to them because they are trapped in the attractive offers of the tobacco companies.