CUMILLA: Matin Saikot, a college teacher from Adampur village of Elliotganj South Union in Cumilla's Daudkandi upazila, has been irrigating his and others' agricultural land since 1997.
In 1997, Matin used to charge farmers Tk 200 per bigha for irrigating agricultural land for the entire Boro season. Even in 2021, Matin is taking that amount ofTk 200 per bigha of irrigation. Farmer friend MatinSaikot has been providing irrigation facilities to farmers at nominal cost for 25 consecutive years.
Farmer Roshan Ali said farmers are being charged Tk 1,500 to Tk 2,000 per bigha for seasonal irrigation in each of the nearby villages. But Matin has been taking only 200 taka from us for the last 25 years.
In 25 years the price of everything has gone up, but the price of his irrigation has not gone up. At present, irrigation facilities are not available anywhere in Bangladesh at this nominal price. This is a rare incident. Like last 25 years, he has irrigated every bigha of agricultural land for 200 takas in this whole boro season.
Although MatinSaikot, son of late Keramat Ali of Adampur village, was a teacher by profession, he was known to all as a farmer and friend of the environment. Matin spends most of his time on the beach working for the welfare of the farmers.
Farmer friend Matin Saikot, said, "My father was a prosperous farmer. Dad died in 1997. From then on I started irrigation activities for the welfare of the farmers. From that time onwards, we started irrigating 150 bighas of agricultural land between our village, the neighboring Putia and Singula villages, for 200 taka per bigha, which is still going on".
Matin Saikot said that he gets a total of Tk 30,000 from farmers throughout the season. On the other hand, from the time of planting paddy to the time of harvesting of ripe paddy, we irrigate them only when they are needed for a period of 5/6 months. Basically this job costs me more, but I think it's a social service.
If others take the initiative in this way, they can irrigate the farmers for 400-500 takas per bigha even if they cannot get it for 200 takas. But 1500 to 2000 taka is taken from the farmers. This is increasing the cost of crop production of farmers. Farmers are getting less profit.
Matin Saikot further said that paddy is not cultivated in these lands during the monsoon season. Then fish farming started in the agricultural land with a dam around the land. Fish farming has been started in these agricultural lands since 2000 during the monsoon season. The farmers get 15 to 16 thousand taka per bigha.
Abdur Rahim Mollah, a farmer from Singula village, said MatinSaikot burrows tree stalks on our agricultural land (perching method) during the boro season. In this way the birds sit and eat the insects from the paddy land, keeping the crop safe. Due to which we do not have to apply any kind of pesticides in paddy production.
Suruj Mia, a farmer from Putia village, said MatinSaikot used drums and miking every year during the harvest season to warn the farmers of the area about the dangers of pesticides. Besides, he did various works with the farmers for the production of safe crops.
Upazila Agriculture Officer Mohammad Sarwar Zaman said Matin Saikot is a real friend of farmers. Farmers are benefiting from boro cultivation as he provides irrigation at low cost. If others like him give irrigation facilities in this way, people will be more motivated in agricultural work. Seeing people like MatinSaikot, now many educated youths are also leaning towards agriculture, he said.