Poster in Feb 04, 2024 02:47:17

Bed-planting technology has transformed agriculture into a climate-smart one

Bed-planting technology has transformed agriculture into a climate-smart one

Photo: Collected

Bed-planting technology has already begun to transform conventional agriculture into climate-smart ones in the Rajshahi region, especially in its vast Barendra region. Transformative technologies are mitigating the unique challenges faced by farmers due to climate change and setting a new standard for sustainable and eco-friendly agricultural practices, Agriculture officials said.

Senior Scientific Officer of Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) Dr Shakhawat Hossain told BSS that a groundbreaking agricultural revolution is underway in the region through innovative bed planting technology. On behalf of its 'Consortium for Scaling-up Climate-Smart Agriculture in South Asia (C-SUCSeS) project', BARI has been promoting the technology supported by the SAARC Agriculture Centre. 

Dr Hossain said the project promoted a bed planter attached to a power tiller for efficient soil tillage, bed formation, fertilizer application, and seed sowing in a single pass. It's a smart method as it doesn't require any separate equipment meaning that a single round of bed planting is sufficient curtailing the need for separate seeding and fertilizing.

In this method, the machine featuring two types of furrow opener at the rear- one for seeds and the other for fertilizer- maintains specific distances for optimal growth. The technology significantly reduces the workload and time required for cultivation. The seeding cost is also much less than the conventional seeding method.

Dr. Hossain said they have generated local service providers by giving bed planters for bed planting operations with the project interventions. They are also enhancing the skills, marketing expertise, and behavioral changes of the local service providers.

"Some of them have gained expertise even from outside the country. As a result, the service initiatives have positively inspired the local entrepreneurs," the official said. This year, they have given technological support to 200 small farmers, including 60 females as demand for the service providers is gradually increasing in the region, he added.

Many farmers are adopting bed planting techniques during this Rabi season which helped the farmers reduce irrigation water usage by 25 to 30 percent, he continued. To manage the workload efficiently, the local service providers are seen distributing some of the workload to their assistant bed planters.

The technology not only ensures a more sustainable approach to agriculture but also lights up the faces of those resilient farmers who persevere against the odds. Its success has sparked a growing interest among the local community, highlighting its potential as a solution to longstanding agricultural challenges.

With this breakthrough, farmers in this region are not only adapting to climate change but also enhancing crop yield and sustainability, Hossain said.

Muhammad Shimul Islam, a farmer of Godagari, said the method is very smart. By adding one simple and inexpensive piece of equipment, they can cultivate their land in a single pass instead of three to four separate cultivation processes in the conventional system. 

Since seeding and fertilizing are completed in one round through the machine, the fertilizer is placed closely and systematically beside the seeds, resulting in good crop yields.  Due to the bed system, wind can pass nicely and water cannot stay for long and the process prevents damage to crops like wheat.

In their areas, farmers face challenges due to the high cost of cultivation as three to four rounds of soil works are needed in conventional methods and the cost of fertilizer and insect control materials is high. But, now the sufferings have gone away amid the promotion of new technology.

Shimul mentioned that the bed planting technology contributes to the timely and efficient growth of crops with fewer rounds of soil work, reducing the vulnerability to natural calamities.  The bed formation also acts as a barrier, protecting crops from vertebrate pests and weeds. It safeguards crops from damage, making it an ideal choice for marginal farmers.

Shimul said the farmers will benefit enormously in terms of alleviating the shortage of labor and enhancing food security if modern technologies are introduced widely. Managing irrigation in the undulating terrain of this region is challenging due to the varying elevation of the soil, leading to issues related to climate variability and a lack of surface water availability.

Traditionally, farmers in the region cultivate land using tractors and power tillers. However, space needed for three to four rounds of traditional cultivation results in additional labor and time. 

Source: Online/GFMM

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