Big onion output target set to reduce import
The Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) has fixed a target for producing 4,69,679 tonnes of onion on 72,292 hectares of land in the northern region of the country during the current Rabi season.
According to official sources, the DAE, the Bangladesh Agriculture Research Institute (BARI), the Bangladesh Agriculture Development Corporation (BADC) and a number of non-government organisations (NGOs) are working to make the onion-farming programme a success.
Steps have been taken to provide adequate training, technical assistance and inputs, high quality imported and locally produced seeds, and agri-loans for the farmers under various programme, including the Northwest Crop Diversification Project (NCDP).
Sources said, the special steps taken earlier this year to produce onion during the last summer season will help greatly in producing the spicy crop in the region.
This year, more steps have been taken to increase production of onion during the current Rabi season, deputy directors of the DAE Kamal Shariful Alam, Mohsin Ali, Yunus Ali and Hazrat Ali in northern districts told the news agency.
Senior agro-experts in the DAE, BADC and BARI said, the onion import will come down significantly next year after achievement of the fixed target during this season and added that the target is expected to be achieved due to the special steps.
They hoped that onion production in the region would continue to increase as the crop is being cultivated twice a year in place of only once during the winter in the past.
Besides, the farmers have been showing more interest in farming spicy crops including onion this time following disbursement of easy-term agri-loan at only two percent interest rate among the farmers.
Earlier, a huge amount of allocated agri-loan money for the purpose had remained idle with the banks, but due to recent steps taken by Bangladesh Bank, the loans are now being disbursed at larger scales among the farmers.
Onion will be cultivated this year on 13,325 hectares of land in Rajshahi, 4,431 hectares in Naogaon, 3,467 hectares in Natore, 4,047 hectares in Chapainawabganj, 33,060 hectares in Pabna, 944 hectares in Sirajganj, 2,442 hectares in Bogra and 816 hectares in Joypurhat districts.
This season, 1,896 hectares will be brought under onion farming in Rangpur, 1,152 hectares in Gaibandha, 730 hectares in Lalmonirhat, 1,416 hectares in Nilphamari, 775 hectares in Kurigram, 2,195 hectares in Dinajpur, 648 hectares in Thakurgaon and 948 hectares in Panchagarh.