RANGPUR, Oct 31, 2023 (BSS) – Implementation of the ‘Expansion of irrigation in greater Rangpur district through best uses of surface water and conservation of rainwater (EIR)’ project has started contributing to enhancing food production in the region.
Officials said re-excavation of 125-kilometre portions of five extinct canals and rivers has already freed 20,615 hectares of land from water-logging after four decades turning those cultivable benefiting 1.26-lakh people, including 25,000 farmers.
Barind Multipurpose Development Authority (BMDA) is implementing the Taka 288-crore project to conserve surface water and free vast land area from water-logging and provide irrigation and supplementary irrigation for increasing food production.
“The re-excavation has already enabled farmers to produce an additional 1.65-lakh tonnes of crops worth Taka 382 crore this season,” said EIR Project Director and Superintending Engineer of BMDA for Rangpur Circle Md. Habibur Rahman Khan.
BMDA will re-excavate a total of 230 kilometres of extinct canals and rivers under the five-year (2019-2025) term EIR project in 35 upazilas of Rangpur, Nilphamari, Kurigram, Lalmonirhat and Gaibandha districts.
“Utilising conserved surface water, farmers are likely to produce an additional 103,000 tonnes of Aman paddy worth Taka 258-crore and 61,845 tonnes of vegetables worth Taka 124-crore from 20,615 hectares of land freed from water-logging this season,” he said.
Beneficiary farmer Badsha Mian of village Bhagbanpur in Mithapukur upazila of Rangpur said re-excavation of the extinct Shalmara canal has freed his three acres of land from water-logging enabling him to cultivate Aman rice this time.
“The re-excavated canal recently carried out rainwater swiftly freeing my land from water-logging for the first time in four decades. I have cultivated Aman paddy on the land this time,” he said.
Farmers Abu Bakar Siddik, Asaduzzaman Polash, Khorshed Alam and Syed Ali of villages Phota and adjoining areas in Kawnia upazila of Rangpur said re-excavation of the extinct Khoranodi canal has freed 1,500 acres of land from water-logging in the area.
“Like others, I have cultivated Aman paddy for the first time in 40 years in my 10 acres of land. I will cultivate potatoes after harvesting Aman paddy and then Boro paddy on the same land this year,” Alam said.
Farmers Farid Mian, Yusuf Ali, Al Amin and Dholu Master of village Chhoto Paharpur and nearby village Keshobpur in Pirganj upazila of Rangpur said re-excavation of the Noleya canal has freed 3,000 acres of land from water-logging making those cultivable.
Many farmers lifted conserved surface water from the re-excavated canal using low-lift pumps for supplementary irrigation and transplanted Aman paddy seedlings during recent drought-like situations without facing hardships.
“I have cultivated Aman paddy on my 10 acres of land freed from water-logging for the first time in four decades,” Dholu Master said, adding that he will cultivate potato after harvesting Aman paddy and then Boro paddy there.
Farmers Abu Bakar, Mozahar Ali and Abdul Halim of village Char Berubari in Berubari union of Nageshwari upazila in Kurigram said re-excavation of the Boalerdara canal has freed 2,500 acres of land from water-logging paving an opportunity to cultivate three crops annually.
“I have cultivated Aman paddy on my six bighas of land, now free from water logging, for the first time in the last three decades,” Halim said, adding that re-excavation of the canal has made 20,000 people of 20 villages happy.
Chairman of local Berubari union Abdul Motaleb said, “Re-excavation of the canal has enabled people to use conserved water for irrigation and auxiliary irrigation, rearing of ducks, fish farming and household activities.”
Chairman of Pirgachha upazila in Rangpur Abu Naser Shah Md. Mahbubar Rahman said re-excavation of several extinct canals has freed a vast land area from water-logging making those cultivable again to enhance crop intensity and food production.
“Farmers are making the best use of the conserved water from the re-excavated canals to promote agriculture and increase food production when cultivable land area is shrinking in the country amid changing climate,” he said.