RAJSHAHI, Jan 14, 2018 (BSS)-Speakers at a discussion here today stressed the need for promoting less-water consuming crops in Barind areas to lessen the gradually mounting pressure on groundwater.
They viewed substantial and sustainable promotion of less-water consuming crops could be the effective means of achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through mitigating water-stress condition in the drought-prone Barind region.
The observation came in the closing session of a two-day workshop titled “Role of BMDA for the Implementation of SDG’s at the Grassroots level in Barind Areas” in the city.
Barind Multipurpose Development Authority (BMDA) and Australian Curtin University jointly organized the workshop at BMDA conference hall.
Senior Secretary of Ministry of Public Administration Dr Mozammel Haque Khan addressed the meeting as chief guest with BMDA Chairman Dr Akram Hossain Khan in the chair.
Commissioner of Rajshahi division Nur-Ur-Rahman, Additional Commissioner Aminul Islam, Director General of Rural Development Academy Engineer Abdul Matin and BMDA Executive Director Engineer Abdur Rashid also spoke.
Dora Marinova, Professor and Director, Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute and Prof Amzad Hossain and Prof Asif Iqbal Siddiqui from the same institute shared their expertise on the issue.
More than 100 academics and officials from BMDA and other government entities like BARI, BRRI, BINA, DAE, BADC and SRDI working in 125 upazilas under Rajshahi and Rangpur divisions joined the workshop.
Mozammel Haque Khan referred to various research findings and mentioned that there are enormous scopes of expanding acreage of various low-water consuming crops like wheat, black gram, sesame, lentil, maize and mugdal in the high Barind tracts.
Wheat could be cultivated on seven to eight bighas of land with same amount of irrigation-water needed to irrigate one bigha of Boro rice through soil moisture utilization and the best uses of the modern technologies.
Wheat plays an important role to ensure food security as its consumption is increasing day by day. But, Bangladesh produces hardly 10 lakh tonnes of wheat against the demand of around 40 lakh tonnes annually.
All the authorities concerned and farmers should come forward and work together to this end. Farmers in the hard Barind region comprising Rajshahi, Naogaon and Chapainwabganj districts need time-fitting training and motivation on how to cultivate more less-irrigated crops to lessen the existing pressure on ground water.
He viewed there is no alternative to encourage the farmers to promote various cereal crops and vegetables instead of only Irri-Boro paddy on the dried land to remove the water stress condition as its groundwater table has gradually been declining.
In his remarks, Dr Akram Chowdhury said the BMDA has a significant contribution to making the Barind area multiple cropping at present instead of single one through providing irrigation.
In the two-day workshop, various issues relating to formulation of policy and planning for exploration and the best uses of the existing potentialities in Barind areas were discussed elaborately for successful achieving the SDGs.