Farmers are happy with the satisfactory yield of newly harvested chickpea in the region, including its vast Barind tract, in the current season.
Abdus Samad, a farmer of Laxmipur village under Godagari Upazila in the district, cultivated chickpea on one bigha of land and got a yield worth Tk 7,000 by spending only Tk 2,500.
Samad says chickpea farming is very much cost-effective as it is one of the less-water consuming crops. Like him, many other farmers also harvested better yields generating a prediction of expanding the cash crop farming.
Various research and extension related government and non-government entities including Pulse Research Centre (PRC) and On Farm Research Division (OFRD) of Bangladesh Agriculture Research Institute are working here to promote chickpea farming in the region.
Dr Shakhawat Hossain, Senior Scientific Officer of OFRD (Barind Centre), said there are prospects of harvesting additional 10,000 tonnes of the pulse including chickpea in the high Barind tract comprising Rajshahi, Naogaon and Chapainawabganj districts.
"We are conducting programmes to motivate the farmers to cultivate chickpea on the targeted lands to meet the gradually increasing demands for pulse," he said referring to various salient features of the cash crop.
He said: "No additional cost for fertiliser, pesticide and irrigation is needed to cultivate this short-term cash crop".
Dr Hossain viewed around 20,000 bighas of land remains fallow for more than three months after harvesting of transplanted Aman paddy every year.
"We are putting in our level best efforts to bring the huge lands under the farming of lentil, chickpea and grasspea," he added.
To make the farming popular and profitable at the growers' level, the OFRD and PRC has started conducting various programmes including farmers' motivation and training, field demonstration and supplying necessary inputs like seed, fertiliser and pesticide, reports BSS.
Under a project titled, 'Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM)', around 994 volunteers are working in the Barind region to motivate farmers to promote water-saving crops like wheat, maize, pulses, spices and vegetables farming.