Prospects of sesame farming in dried Barind tract

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RAJSHAHI, July 15, 2018 (BSS)-Large scale farming of sesame can be the
effective means of mitigating the adverse impact of climate change coupled
with the existing drought condition in the vast Barind tract.

Agricultural scientists and researchers opined that prospects of large-
scale sesame farming on the fallow lands are very bright in the drought-prone
area.

Agriculturist Rustam Ali Mondal said more than one lakh hectares of land
remain fallow after harvesting transplanted Aman paddy in the high Barind
tract comprising 10 upazilas of Rajshahi, Chapainawabganj and Naogaon
districts every year.

He said there is an enormous prospect of producing at least one lakh tonnes
of sesame valued at around Taka 300 crore from the fallow lands yearly and
thereby, the country’s demand for edible oil could be fulfilled to some
extent.

Meanwhile, farmers and agriculture officials in the region are expecting a
bumper yield of sesame this season.

Mustafizur Rahman, Additional Director of Department of Agriculture
Extension, said the pollination was well due to favorable weather condition
and the plants are still unaffected by pest attacks or natural calamities.

Most of the plants have already passed the pod formation stage, he added. A
good number of honey farmers set wooden hives alongside the oilseed fields,
and it helped better pollination.

The farmers are showing interest in cultivating the crop on more areas of
lands after getting its bumper yield and good prices in recent years, DAE
officials said.

It requires lower production cost in terms of irrigation, fertiliser and
labour compared to other Rabi crops, and less fertile lands, where other
crops do not usually grow well, can be used for sesame cultivation, they
said.

Usually farmers in the district grow local variety T-6 sesame. Bari Til-3,
Bari Til-4 and Bina Til are also being cultivated in some areas as the DAE
authorities are campaigning for cultivating high yielding sesame varieties
invented by Bari between the gaps of potato and Aman paddy.

Sesame requires 70-80 days for attaining maturity and mid-February to mid-
May is the optimum period for its cultivation.

Shah Jahan Ali, 45, a farmer of Premtali village in Godagari upazila, said
he cultivated sesame on one bigha of land last year spending Tk 700 and got
four maunds of yield.

“That time I made a profit of Tk 6,500. This season I cultivated sesame on
two bighas of land,” he said.

Cultivation of sesame, requiring moderate irrigation only once, is easier
and less costly than other crops but brings good profit, said Aminul Islam ,
55, a sharecropper of Kakonhat village under the same upazila.

“Sesame farming between the gap of potato and Aman paddy cultivation
periods helps earning additional money. It also makes the soil fertile,” said
Rabiul Islam, who cultivated sesame on 1.5-bigha of land.

“We are motivating the farmers towards boosting sesame cultivation through
the best uses of modern technologies in the area,” said Dr Shakhawat Hossain,
Senior Scientific Officer of On Farm Research Division (OFRD) under
Bangladesh Agriculture Research Institute (BARI).

To this end, a project titled “Extension of Sesame Farming in bed-planting
method in drought-prone area in climate changed situation” is being
implemented.

He says there is no alternative to bring diversity in cropping system in
the changed climatic condition and urged the farmers to extend their
cooperation to sesame promotion in the dried area.

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