Low profits pushing farmers away from legume cultivation

January 31, 2021 Business
Farmers in various regions of the country are gradually shifting away from legumes towards other crops while lentils and pulses have grown to be less profitable now.

Legume cultivation found in four districts -- Bogura, Joypurhat, Pabna and Sirajganj -- decreased 19 % from practically 60 lakh acres in fiscal 2016-17 to around 49 lakh acres in today's year, according to info from the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) office in Bogura.

The situation is similar at the national level as farmers grew various pulses and lentils on 10.11 lakh acres in 2014-15 although it was 8.75 lakh acres in 2018-19, data from the Bangladesh Bureau of Figures shows.

Individually, lentil cultivation fell to 3.51 lakh acres in 2018-19, down 9 per cent year-on-year from 3.85 lakh, as the production of Indian peas dropped 7 per cent going to 2.57 lakh tonnes over the same period.

Farmers say that they are zero longer thinking about growing lentils or perhaps pulses due to the high-protein crop's low yield help to make it hard to carefully turn a profit.

Besides, the crop's susceptibility to rain and cold is another reason behind the farmers to lose interest.

"Lentil cultivation isn't growing as different crops, mainly vegetables, happen to be more successful during winter," said Ohbiul Islam, a farmer of Salimpur village under Ishwardi upazila of Pabna, one of the primary lentil producing districts found in the north.

Farmers in other districts echoed the same.

"Lentil cultivation is much less successful than rice, chili, maize and wheat and so, I opted for different crops," stated Zahidul Islam Pramanik, a good farmer of Kuripara char under Bogura's Sariakandi upazila.

Pramanik makes almost Tk 60,000 due to profit from his a single bigha chili plantation whereas lentil cultivation on the same area of land would deliver him hardly about Tk 21,000.

Because of the crop's low profitability, most farmers grow legumes mainly for his or her own consumption or even to use as pet feed.

And although legumes are fairly easy to look after, other crops still carry more prospect of the farmers.

For example, Sagar Islam, a farmer of Pakhimara char under Sariakandi area, said he cultivated lentils on 1.5 bighas of infertile land in a char area.

But in three bighas of arable land Islam planted chilis.

"This is because I can get Tk 200,000 benefit from chili cultivation upon this land," he said.

Habizar Molla, a good farmer of Dakatmara char of Bogura's Sariakandi upazila, said they used to cultivate lentils and different varieties of pulses in the char areas 15 to 20 years ago.

"But after obtaining the improved types of maize, rice, chili and wheat, most of us shifted to these crops so you can get more earnings," Molla added.

DAE Director General Md Asadullah said pulse cultivation is falling found in the northern regions, incorporating Dhaka and Mymensingh.

But on the different, it is expanding in the south, particularly in Barishal and Bhola districts.

"Pulses certainly are a winter crop and it has to contend with other crops just like mustard, maize, potato and rice as how much arable territory is finite," Asadullah said, adding that low yields help to make it hard to benefit from legumes.

Even so, the DAE is growing demonstration plots with plenty of high-yield varieties to inspire farmers to create legumes.

"We will teach the growers about how to preserve seeds aswell," he said.

When contacted, Debashish Sarker, director of the Pulses Exploration Centre of the Bangladesh Agricultural Study Institute in Pabna's Ishwardi upazila, said two varieties of lentils -- BARI lentil-8 and 9 -- have become popular among farmers.

If farmers may cultivate both of these varieties, they are able to get 8-10 maunds (one maund equals 37 kilogrammes) of lentils per bigha.

They could then sell each maund of legume for Tk 24,000-30,000 at the current market prices.

Meanwhile, the BARI Kheshari-3 and 6 varieties are also gaining popularity, the DAE director general said.
Source: Thedaily Star

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