Mechanization can mitigate agriculture challenges: experts

RAJSHAHI, Sept 15, 2018 (BSS)-Scientists and researchers unanimously
mentioned that large-scale adoption of conservation agriculture (CA) and farm
mechanization can be the effective means of facing the existing agriculture
related challenges.

They identically observed that the country’s agriculture is facing many
challenges including climate change, labour shortage, irrigation water
scarcity and increase of crop cultivation cost. So, promotion of CA and farm
mechanization has become indispensable.

They made this observation while addressing a daylong inception workshop
titled “Pilot Project on Commercialization of Smallholders’ CA-based Planters
in Bangladesh” in the conference hall of Regional Wheat and Maize Research
Institute (RWMRI) here on Friday.

RWMRI and Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) jointly
organized the workshop in association with Australian Centre for
International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) and Murdoch University-Australia.

Additional Director of Department of Agriculture Extension SM Mustafizur
Rahman and its Deputy Director Deb Dulal Dhali addressed the meeting as chief
and special guests respectively with RWMRI Principal Scientific Officer Dr
Ilias Hossain in the chair.

Adjunct Associate Professor of Murdoch University Dr Enamul Haque was the
keynote presenter.

Chief Scientific Officer of Bangladesh Rice Research Institute Dr Aminul
Islam and Scientific Officer of BARI Jahedul Islam also spoke.

Dr Enamul Haque told the meeting that cropping intensity can be increased
to 250 percent even 400 percent from the existing 200 percent through
reducing the existing time gap between the two crops through the best uses of
the farm mechanization.

Referring to some research findings, he mentions average benefits from the
farm mechanization and CA adoption have been estimated at 34 percent labor
saving, 31 pc less seed required, six pc fertilizers saving, 32 pc pesticide
cost saving leading to 10 pc lower production cost for lentil, mustard,
maize, and wheat.

Widespread use of two-wheel tractors for land preparation and the recent
development of small farm machineries provide a platform for implementing
farm mechanization, cost savings and the practice of conservation agriculture
(CA) in Bangladesh.

Dr Haque attributed that mechanization is an important tool for profitable
and competitive agriculture. The need for mechanization is increasing fast
with the decrease of draft power. Farmers of Rajshahi have started leading
adoption of farm mechanization and conservation agriculture.

Dr Ilias Hossain opined that the farmers need power tiller operated seeder
and bed-planter machines at subsidized rates for successful promotion of
farming mechanizations for expansion and adoption of conservation agriculture
(CA) system.

Principles of conservation agriculture are: use of reduced tillage,
retention of some amounts of residues in the field, sustainable and
profitable crop diversification and its rotation and judicious use of natural
resources, he added.