Following fall in Aus rice production last season, the government is focusing on raising the grain's output this season. To do so, it is emphasising mechanisation to increase per hectare crop yield in Aus season, said speakers at a workshop.
The observation came at the mid-term workshop of the project -"Enhancement of Farm Machinery Research Activities for Mechanised Rice Cultivation (SFMRA)" - organised by the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) at its head office in Gazipur on Saturday.
According to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS), rice production in Aus season declined to 3.0 million tonnes in the last financial year (FY), 2021-22, which was 3.28 million tonnes in FY 21. The production might decline further in FY 23, as per primary projection of the BBS.
Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) Secretary Wahida Akhter, while speaking at the workshop, said mechanisation should be given importance to boost production as well as to minimise cost.
She noted that the country's food security largely depends on availability of the staple grain, and also focused on increasing cultivation and production of rice in Aus season.
"Therefore, the mechanisation process should be carried forward in coordination with the institutions that manufacture agricultural machinery for production," she added.
BRRI Director General Dr Md Shahjahan Kabir presided over the programme. Executive Chairman of Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council (BARC) Sheikh Mohammad Bakhtiar, Director General of Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) Debashish Sarkar, MoA Additional Secretary (Planning Division) Mahbubul Haque Patwari, Additional Secretary (Extension) Rabindra Sree Barua, BRRI Director (Research) Dr Mohammad Khalequzzaman, and BRRI Higher Education and Research Coordinator Dr Munnujan Khanam also spoke on the occasion, among others, said a press release.
BRRI SFMRA Project Director and Chief Scientific Officer Dr A K M Saiful Islam presented the keynote.
He said under this project four agricultural machineries, including BRRI seed-sowing machine, whole feed combine harvester, solar light trap, and rope twister, have been developed and expanded.
Apart from this, development of eight other machineries, like BRRI manual rice transplanter, power weeder, etc, is also in progress.
The SFMRA is an ongoing project, being implemented in 12 upazilas under 12 districts of the country from July 2019 to June 2024.
BRRI Director General Dr Kabir said if the benefits of this project can be taken to the farmers, there would be a revolution in agricultural mechanisation in the future.
The main objective of the SFMRA project is to strengthen research activities on farm machinery for their development and modernisation, suitable for sustainable rice cultivation, he added.