The drip irrigation method introduced by the Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation (BADC) has proved to be fruitful for cultivating vegetables and flowers round the year in the district.
The drip irrigation is a modern irrigation system where farmers store rainwater in dug wells and use it for irrigation throughout the year.
BADC undertook the programme in the district for three years in 2017-18 fiscal year. Following its success, it is going to launch the project in 26 upazilas of the country in 2020-21 fiscal year.
Under the project taken by the irrigation department of Jashore BADC in Godkhali in Jhikargachha upazila, known as the capital of flower, 15 dug-wells and six sheds (poly houses) have been constructed.
Local farmers said they collect rainwater, store it in dug-wells and use it for irrigating their vegetable and flower fields. There is no arsenic in this water.
As solar power is used for the purpose, there is no need for electricity or diesel. Due to controlled temperature in the poly house and supply of only required water, there is also no waste, either.
There is also no attack of insects for using net around the poly house which reduces the use of pesticides. As a result, there is good yield at a lower cost under the system.
Shahjahan Kabir, a farmer of Haria village in the upazila who has cultivated gerbera flower using the method, said they collect water from dug-wells through a solar pump throughout the year.
In the rainy season, rainwater rolls down to dug-wells through pipes from where water is supplied to vegetable and flower fields through pipes. Under the system, water falls at the roots of plants in drops.
Around 30 farmers of the upazila are using the method and they are getting its benefits, he said.
Ismail Hossain, who is the first farmer to use this programme here, said his 12 bighas of land out of 24 bighas are under the drip irrigation method.
He first started using this method on a limited scale but extended it when BADC Executive Engineer Mahbub Alam visited his field and encouraged him after witnessing his success.
He said there is fogger machine above the poly house from where water comes down like dew drops. The temperature of the poly house can be controlled and there is no attack of insects which reduces the use of pesticides.
Another farmer, Asadul Islam, said they need to give Tk 22,000 as security money to come under the project. If anyone wants to start the method at the individual initiative, it will cost him around Tk 30-40 lakh. As the amount of security money is very low, the method is profitable for farmers.
According to the local BADC office, the drip irrigation programme was undertaken in 2017-18 fiscal year with a budget of Tk 7 crore. The depth of a dug-well is 140 feet and a poly house is on an iron structure with 1,010 square metres of white polythene. A poly house can stand a wind with a speed of 120 kms per hour.
Abdur Rahim, president of Bangladesh Flowers Society, said farmers are being benefitted as the cost of the irrigation project as well as risk is very low which has drawn huge response among farmers.
He urged the government to bring all the farmers of 75 villages of the district where flowers are cultivated under the project.
Abdullah Al Rashid, superintending engineer of the local BADC office, said following the success of the project in Jhikargachha upazila, another project has been taken in 26 upazilas where vegetables and flowers are cultivated throughout the year. “It’s expected that the project will start in fiscal year 2020-21.”