Chapainawabganj, Oct 25 (UNB) – The farmers of the district are passing a very busy time in cultivating various winter vegetables as their cultivation proved to be quite rewarding.
Officials at the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) said they have set a target to bring some 9,530 hectars of land under winter vegetable cultivation this time with a production target of 1,57,245 metric tonnes.
During a recent visit to rural areas, the UNB correspondent found that the vegetable growers in Sadar, Shibganj, Gomostapur and Nachole upazilas are busy cultivating brinjal, radish, spinach, red-spinach, cabbage, cauliflower in their lands.
The vegetable growers of the upazilas said cultivating winter vegetable is more profitable than cultivating paddy at this time of the year.
They urged the government to lower the prices of fertilizers and pesticides to reduce the production cost.
Mobarak Hossain, a vegetable grower of Takahara in Nachole upazila, said he cultivated cabbage, tomato and cauliflower as the market value of winter vegetables is higher than other vegetables.
Mobarak’s wife Jahanara said labourer cost is Tk 300 per head, and she works in the vegetable field of her husband to save the money.
Mobarak Ali, another farmer of Shahapur area in the upazila, said, “We’ve cultivated radish, spinach, red-spinach, cabbage, cauliflower, brinjal and tomatoes in our fields but the prices of pesticides and fertilizers are high while the wage of labourers has also gone up. If the prices of fertilizers and pesticides had been lower than we would have been benefited more.”
Manjurul Huda, DAE deputy director in Chapainawabganj, said the farmers of the district are showing more interest in cultivating winter vegetables in their lands as it has turned out to be more profitable than cultivating other crops.
The DAE is providing the farmers with necessary training and suggestions and discouraging them to use excessive pesticides. He hopes that the vegetable cultivation will exceed the target set by the DAE.
Dhaka, Oct 23 (UNB) – The government has planned to build the country’s biggest-ever urea fertilizer factory in Narsingdi with the annual production capacity of 9.24 lakh metric tonnes, said a senior official.
“It’ll be a modern, sophisticated, energy-efficient and environment-friendly green fertilizer factory,” the Industries Ministry official told UNB.
The government envisages exporting urea after meeting domestic demand after implementation of the mega project.
The project titled ‘Ghorasal Polash Urea Fertilizer Project (GPUFP) will be implemented at the place of existing two very old fertilizer factories -- Urea Fertilizer Factory Ltd (UFFL) and Polash Urea Fertilizer Factory Ltd. (PUFFL).
Once implemented, the factory will produce 2,800 metric tonnes of Granular Urea a day, which is about three times higher than that of the existing two fertilizer factories, another official at the Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation (BCIC) told UNB.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. (MHI), Japan and China National Chemical Engineering No. 7 Construction Co. Ltd. (CC-7), China consortium is the contractor of this project.
This project will be implemented through ‘Bidder Financing’ process, spending Tk 10,460.91 crore.
Of the amount, the government will provide Tk 1,844.19 crore while the rest of the amount, Tk 8,616.72 crore, will come as commercial loan.
“Hope, the project will be implemented maintaining the highest standard and using world-class environment-friendly green technology,” said the BCIC official.
Since Japan is the technology leader of the world, he said, this project will add a new feather to the crown of Japanese innovation and technological reputation.
Other officials said an agreement on ‘Ghorasal Polash Urea Fertilizer Project (GPUFP)’ among BCIC and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd (MHI), Japan and China National Chemical Engineering Construction Co. Ltd. (CC7) will be signed on Wednesday.
Earlier, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had directed the Industries Ministry to build a modern urea fertilizer factory replacing the old two ones.
Later, this month, the Executive of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) approved a proposal for setting up Ghorashal Palash Urea Fertiliser Factory at a cost Tk 10,460 crore which will be completed by 2022.
Currently, Shahjalal Fertiliser Factory in Fenchuganj of Sylhet is the country’s biggest fertilizer factory having the production capacity of 5.81 metric tonnes.
Khulna, Oct 23 (UNB) – Three rivers -- the Mayur, the Bhairab and the Rupsa— running beside the city are now under rampant human assaults due to encroachment and unchecked pollution.
The dumping of untreated industrial wastes and chemicals into the rivers from the metropolitan city and negligence of the authorities concerned have made way for illegal grabbers to stake substantial claims in those rivers.
Multiple industries have been set up on the banks of the Rupsa and Mayur, which affect the dissolved oxygen(DO) level in the waters, turning the water toxic and jeopardising the aquaculture in the process.
Amid such troubled period, local experts feel the absence of a river research institute, which is only located in Dhaka and Faridpur.
According to sources at the Department of Environment, the oxygen level in the three rivers, along with the Kalibacha River, has reduced drastically. The oxygen level in the Mayur is alarmingly low.
Senior chemist at the department Md Kamruzzaman Sarkar said a river must contain above 4.5 mg of dissolved oxygen to sustain. In August, the DO level in the Rupsha river was 5.3 mg, the Bhairab 5.4 mg and the Mayur 1.2mg.
Though it is illegal to dump industrial waste and chemicals into the rivers without treatment, it is not being followed by the industries, an investigation reveals.
As a result, the expert said, the aquaculture is facing threat, while the nurseries built to cultivate spawn are also being polluted.
The presence of nearby jute mills, power plants, matchstick factories, brick kilns and Khulna City Corporation (KCC)’s dumping unit are greatly affecting the rivers.
It is alleged that the water in 22 canals and countless drains located in the Khulna City Corporation are rolled into the rivers without any proper filtering. The presence of human waste, dumped materials and other products are directly thrown into the rivers.
Dr M Rakib Uddin, a professor at Khulna University’s Environment science discipline, said this waste dumping is the main cause of pollution of the rivers, which are mainly caused by the nearby industries.
He also lamented the lack of a river research institute, which could have played a role in preventing such gross deterioration.
When asked, Habibul Haq Khan, director of the district’s environment directorate office, acknowledged the problems but said that lack of public awareness is also to be blamed.
He added that they carry out drives against the factories to prevent pollution, which will increase in the future.
Rangamati, Oct 22 (UNB) – The farming of Malta is picking up pace in the district, especially the Bari Malta-1 type.
Hemkumar Chakma, one such farmer, started farming Malta fruits back in 2014 on a one-acre stretch of land. He currently grows them in a big orchard.
Though many were initially skeptical to think of growing such a juicy fruit in the hilly regions, its bumper production has surprised everyone.
As a result, others have followed his method and have experienced the similar success.
Hemkumar told UNB that he was provided with seeds and other logistics by the local Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE),
With the DAE’s help, he planted 200 seeds initially, aiming to overcome odds and grow such a fruit in a region considered barren for most fruit cultivation. The success came in two and a half years’ time.
Hemkumar now plans to grow Jujube fruits (Baukul breed) in his orchard.
Shantimoy Chakma, deputy agricultural officer of Shukor Chari block, said Hemkumar had voluntarily decided to cultivate Malta and hence they helped him in every possible way.
Paban Kumar Chakma, a deputy director at the district agriculture department, said the demand for Malta is met though import but it can be grown locally as Hemkumar has shown how to do. “The weather and soil conditions are also good here.”
The way things are moving, Paban said, it may not be far away that Malta will be the newest fruit which can be considered for export, bringing in a silent revolution.
Naogaon, Oct 20 (UNB) – With the rice imported from neighbouring India selling at lower prices, the demand for the local varieties is on the decline, pushing 600 rice mills into closure in the district, said rice mills owners.
The millers had taken loan of around Tk 500 crore from different banks and financial institutions for their businesses, but could not repay the loans due to unwanted fall demand of local variety rice, they said.
Talking to UNB, millers said there are a total of 1,800 rice mills in the district. Of them, some 600 have already been closed and 300 facing shotdown.
The leaders of district Rice Mills Owners Association gave a memorandum to the Commerce Minister through the deputy commissioner of the district after organising a press conference in Alupotti area in the district town recently.
At the press conference, the millers disclosed the information and narrated their sufferings blaming the ‘unnecessary import’ of rice from the neighbouring country.
The millers urged the authorities concerned to immediately stop rice import to save the industry.
They also requested the banks and financial institutions to bring down the interest rate of land to nine percent in accordance with the government decision.
Rafiqul Islam, president of district Rice Mills Owners’ Association, said the country experienced food shortage due to natural disaster last year.
“Then the government slashed the rice import duty to only two percent from 10 percent, opening up doors for the importers to bring huge quantity of rice,” he said.
The government fixed nine percent bank interest for loans for industries, but the local banks are still charging 12 to 14 percent interest from the rice mill owners, the millers alleged..
Although the farmers across the country have achieved a bumper yield of rice this year and have been able to stock enough rice, the government is still continuing rice import from India, said Rafiqul Islam.
As a result, around 80 percent of rice mills have already been closed here, causing huge losses to rice mills owners and employees, he said.
“Rice growers are also incurring losses due to decline in demand of locally produced rice,” the leader added.
When contacted, district food officer Md Abdus Salam said the information over closure of 80 percent mills is not accurate.
“Except the automatic rice mills, a section of mill owners do seasonal businesses and keep their mills closed other time,” he added.