Grass farming becomes boon for Rangpur farmers

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RANGPUR, July 28, 2018 (BSS)-More than 3,000 farmers in eight upazilas of the district have achieved economic self-reliance in the last 10 years through commercial grass-farming.

“Grass cultivation has become a profitable venture as farmers are earning Taka one-lakh annually on an average by farming high yielding variety Napier grass on one bigha (33 decimals) of land,” said District Livestock Officer Dr
Md Mahbubul Alam.

With a huge boost in the livestock and diary sectors during the past one decade, the demand for grass is increasing consistently as fodder for heads of cattle and cows.

“During the 2016-2017 fiscal, some 3,000 farmers cultivated Napier variety grass on over 2,940 bigha (980 acres) of land and produced 2.05-lakh tonnes of the pasture worth Taka 41.16 crore in the district,” Dr Alam said.

Talking to BSS at Chandanpat Bazar under Sadar upazila, farmer Nanu Chandra, 47, of nearby village Matiyapara said he had been cultivating Napier grass on his one acre (100 decimals) of land during the past five years.

“I spend Taka 20,000 on an average for cultivating grass, including labour costs, on my one acre of land. I harvest the grass eight times annually and sell those at Taka 1.20-lakh to earn a net profit of Taka one-lakh every
year,” Nanu said.

A solvent Nanu now easily bears educational expenses of his elder son Jewell Chandra (Polytechnic final year student) and younger son Gobinda (first year honours student) side by side with meeting family expenses for
his mother Taru Bala, 70, and wife Bharoti Rani, 42.

Farmer Pradip Chandra of the same village said he had been cultivating Napier grass on his two-bigha (66 decimals) of land for the past eight years.

“I sell the produced grass by harvesting eight times in a year at over Taka 1.10-lakh to earn net profit of Taka 95,000 excluding total cultivation costs of Taka 15,000 annually,” he said.

Pradip recently married off his two daughters Babita Rani and Kabita Rani spending a good amount of money and he bears educational expenses of his third daughter Sabita Rani, now a student of class five.

“Grass framing has changed my fortune and I lead a solvent life with my wife and youngest daughter Sabita,” said a happier Pradip.

Similarly, farmer Akhterul Islam, 40, of village Sreerampur said he had been cultivating Napier grass on 12 decimals of land for the past three years spending Taka 7,000 annually as cultivation costs.

“After meeting demand of my three milk-giving cows, I earn a net annual profit of around Taka 40,000 by selling the harvested grass eight times,” Islam said adding that grass framing brought solvency to his family.

Dairy farm owner Mizanur Rahman of Jummapara area in Rangpur city said he purchases 400 kg of Napier grass for feeding his 22 cows and six heifers, including 10 milk-giving cows, daily at Taka between 700 and 1,200 depending
on various seasons.

Talking to BSS, horticulture specialist of the Department of Agriculture Extension Khondker Md Mesbahul Islam said, “Grass cultivation has become a profitable venture attracting more farmers every year in the district.”

He suggested farmers for bringing homestead areas, roadside places, mango and litchi orchards and abandoned lands under grass cultivation to make best use of land and earn additional profits without hampering regular crop
farming on cultivable lands.

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