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Climate change , cultivation of shrimps in unplanned way

Agri production declines in Rampal

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17th-Mar-2017       
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Prof  ABM Mosharraf Husain, Bagerhat :
Agricultural production has fallen short abnormally in Rampal Upazila in Bagerhat district during the last three  decades due to the change of climates, cultivation of shrimps and lobsters in unplanned way, construction of dwelling houses and other establishments on agricultural lands indiscriminately, increasing the salinity in water, unplanned dumping of sands , establishment of industries on paddy lands and sweeping of devastating natural calamities like cyclone Sidr and Aila over the area repeatedly.
 As a result, deficit of food production is increasing every year in the area. On the other hand, unemployment, changing of professions and migration of the people from there to elsewhere (mainly to the towns) in search of livelihood is increasing racing with the same speed. Due to the increasing economic recession trade and commerce of the area are also threatened.
\In a statistical survey from the year 2000 to 2016 it is found that the quantity of the deficit food of the Upazila reached to 2 thousand 3 hundred 51 metric tones. Shankar Kumar Majumdar, Agriculture Extension Officer of Rampal Upazila disclosed to the newsmen, the total cultivable lands were some 20 thousand 5 hundred hectares in the Upazila in the 90th decade. But the cultivable lands were reduced to 19.5 thousands hectares in the year 2000 and in the year 2016 the arable lands reduced to 10.4 thousand hectares. Very recently both the government and non-government agencies already adopted big plans to establish industries and their infrastructures on the cultivable lands of the Upazila. As a result, the arable lands of the Upazila will be further reduced. Besides this, huge quantities of sands are being dredged out regularly from a number of rivers and canals of the Upazila in order to make normal the navigability of Mongla-Ghasiakhali water channel. These sands are dumping on the cultivable lands in unplanned way. As a result, one thousand 2 hundred hectares of cultivable lands were already reduced by this time.
In the year of 2000 the production of rice of the Upazil was 25 thousand 1 hundred 42 metric tones. But in the year 2016 it was increased to 28 thousand 4 hundred 75 metric tones. The production of rice of the Upazila was increased to some extent in the year 2016 only due to the cultivation of high breed paddies. But this increased production of rice is quite insufficient to cope with the increasing requirements of the Upazila, it is opined by the Agriculture Extension Department. At present the population of 10 Unions of the Upazila is about 1.6 lakh. The Agriculture Extension Department opines, the requirement of the food grains of those people can be met up through adopting developed cultivation of food grains. But in order make the plan a success high breed food grains should be cultivated in the Upazila without any fail. It may be mentioned here that excess salinity has been prevailing in 7 unions out of 10 in the Upazila. As a result the cultivation of Aman and Boro paddy in those 7 Unions has fallen short abnormally. The severity of salinity is a bit less in Ujalkur, Baintala and Mallikerber unions. The farmers of those 3 Unions produced 2.5 metric tones rice per hectare of lands after cultivating Lal Mota (red coarse) and Sada Mota (white coarse) paddies.
The Upazila Agriculture Extension Officer further disclosed, 5 metric tones of rice can be produce per hectare of lands if the high breed Bree paddy-76 and Bree paddy-77 are cultivated there. But the seeds of this variety of paddy are not easily available. In spite of that a letter was sent to the higher authorities demanding 100 kgs Seeds of those varieties (Bree-76 and Bree-77).
Besides , Chinese nuts, potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, sugar canes, water melons etc. can be cultivated on 1200 hectares of lands on the both banks of Mongla-Ghasiakhali channel where the dredged out sands (of the channel) were dumped as an alternative cultivation with a view to meeting up the growing shortage of food, it is opined by the well informed circle. Cultivation of shrimps and lobsters in unplanned way and increasing salinity are the two big challenges for the cultivation of agricultural products. The circle further opines that in order to face these challenges durable steps should be taken immediately. The circle apprehends that if the tendency for constructing the infrastructures on agricultural lands is continued unabatedly food crisis may be acute in near future in the upazila.

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