Lentil farming is increasing gradually in the region including its vast Barind tract as it requires less cost for cultivation and irrigation.
The farmers are much interested in lentil cultivation since they got its profitable market price in the last couple of years.
"We are cultivating lentil to avoid bundle in getting irrigation water for paddy," said Obaidur Rahman, a farmer of Alinagar village under Gomostapur Upazila. He mentioned that acreage of lentil is increasing day by day.
Obaidur said: "I have cultivated lentil in two-bigha land this year without spending extra for irrigation. A farmer can get four to five maunds of lentil from per bigha of land. One maund of lentil is now selling at Tk 3,800 to 4,000 in local markets".
Prof Chowdhury Sarwar Jahan, who conducts research on water issues in Barind, said the farmers in high barind areas of Rajshahi, Naogaon and Chapainawabgonj districts have to spend much for irrigation in paddy farming, but lentil cultivation needs less irrigation. Hence, they incur loss in paddy cultivation every year.
Dev Dulal Dhali, Deputy Director of Department of Agriculture Extension said, the farmers here have cultivated lentil in around 6,500 hectares of land this year but they cultivated over 3,000 ha in the previous year only in Godagari Upazila. Following the hike in irrigation cost for paddy farming, the farmers are now cultivating different Rabi crops, reports BSS.
Around 80,000 hectares of land remain fallow for more than three months after the harvest of transplanted aman paddy every year.
There has been a bright scope of bringing the huge land under the pulse farming for the best uses of those alongside increasing cropping intensity amid the current water-stress condition.
If the yield could be enhanced to the expected level through successful expansion of the modern cultivation method among the growers, country's hard-earned foreign currencies would be saved.
The country has to import huge quantity of pulses especially lentil to meet its domestic demand. Since there is a bright prospect of increasing its acreage, lentil could be produced in larger amount with less production cost and the yield will no doubt lessen pressure on import.