Thousands of people living in the riverine areas are expecting bumper output of various crops cultivated on the dried-up riverbeds, shoals and char lands in Rangpur agriculture region in the current season.
Officials of the Department of Agriculture Extension and different non-government organisations said that the crops cultivated by farmers on around 86,000 hectares of char lands and silted up riverbeds were growing superbly.
Horticulture specialist of DAE at its regional office Khondker Md Mesbahul Islam said that these lands were being used for crop cultivation due to decline in the underground water level, deposition of alluvial soil and other reasons.
Crops like Boro rice, onion, garlic, maize, wheat, vegetables, gourd, groundnut, kawn, pulses, gunji till, tobacco, pumpkin, pulses, oil seed and watermelon have been mostly cultivated on these lands every year for the past two decades.
‘Harvesting of mustard is nearly complete now though harvesting of other crops on the dried-up riverbeds and char lands would begin later in the month before the next rainy season begins,’ Islam added.
Agriculture and environment coordinator of RDRS Bangladesh Mamunur Rashid said that crop cultivation on char lands and silted-up riverbeds had increased in Rangpur, Kurigram, Gaibandha, Lalmonirhat and Nilphamari in the region in recent times.
‘Around 17,000 households, beneficiaries of different NGOs and government organisations have cultivated pumpkins on the sandbars in over 200 villages under 80 unions of 18 upazilas in the five districts this season,’ he said.
The landless Kobiza Begum, Mahbub and Morsheda who lived by the rivers in village Paschim Mohipur in Gangachara upazila of Rangpur said that a farmer needed to spend Tk 17,000, on an average each, to cultivate pumpkin on 200 raised sandbars.
The produced pumpkin from 200 raised sandbars could be sold at Tk 40,000 to bring a net profit of Tk 23,000 to each of the farmers after completion of harvest by March, they said.
Riverside farmers Kochhim Uddin and Razzaque of the same village said that they cultivated pumpkin, onion, garlic and vegetables on the dried-up beds of River Teesta to bring in the harvest by March.
Char farmers Farman Ali of village Char Khuniagachh in Lalmonirhat and Nur Islam of village Korpura in Kurigram said that they cultivated pumpkin and other crops on the dried-up beds of River Teesta and River Dharla in the current season.
Predicating bumper production of the cultivated crops, deputy director of the DAE at its regional office Md Moniruzzaman said that crop farming on the silted-up bodies of different rivers has brought fortune to many river landless families in recent years.