Agriculturists advocate for AWD irrigation tech in Boro farming

Publish: 9:37 PM, December 24, 2019 | Update: 9:37:PM, December 24, 2019

RANGPUR,  – Agriculturists have suggested farmers for expanded adoption of Alternate Wetting and Drying (AWD) irrigation technology during Boro rice farming to save 30 percent irrigation water and increase rice output.

Noted Agriculturist Dr. Mohammad Abdul Mazid, an Independence Award winner 2018 in food security category told BSS that adoption of the simplest technology helps to adapt to scarcity of irrigation water.

Adoption of AWD technology reduces five numbers of irrigation saving minimum 30 percent underground water, 30 litres diesel and also electricity for irrigation to produce 500 kg more Boro rice per hectare of land.

“Following motivational activities being conducted by different agricultural departments and institutions, farmers have already started reaping enormous benefits of ADW irrigation technology in recent years,” he said.

Dr Mazid, a former chief scientific officer of Bangladesh Rice Research Institute, favoured for crop zoning to cultivate more irrigation water consuming crops in southern zones and less water consuming crops in drought-prone northern zones.

“As the agriculture sector is facing ruthless threat due to changing climate, lifting of underground water must be reduced gradually to the zero level as there is no alternative to maintain the current increasing rate of food production saving water,” Dr. Mazid said.

Adoption of the lowest-cost and simplest AWD irrigation method for Boro rice cultivation on over 48.66-lakh hectares of land in the country might produce some 24.33 lakh tonnes additional paddy worth about Taka 5,000 crore annually.

“Along with producing additional Boro rice, adoption of the AWD irrigation technology will save TK 800 crore for less use of diesel and electricity bringing uncountable benefits to the soil health, environment and biodiversity,” he added.

In traditional practice, farmers generally use 3,000 to 4,000 litres irrigated underground waters to produce only one kilogram of clean Boro rice, whereas it needs only 1,500 to 2,000 litres when the ADW irrigation technology was adopted.

Talking to BSS, Senior Coordinator (Agriculture and Environment) of RDRS Bangladesh Agriculturist Mamunur Rashid said the future of agriculture completely depends on the availability of water as no crop can be cultivated without water.

‘To maintain the increasing food output trend, large-scale adoption of the AWD irrigation technology has become imperative to reduce lifting of underground water for irrigation purposes under adverse impacts of climate change,” he said.

He said the AWD irrigation technology properly determines irrigation times in growing fields of Boro rice and requires only a -seven to 10-centimetre diameter and 25-cm perforated PVC pipe or hollow bamboo pieces or waste bottles of cold drinks to be installed vertically.

“The farmers should irrigate Boro crop fields in such a way that water does not overtop the imperforated portion, watch leaching down of water through the pipe and irrigate when soil at the bottom of the pipe is visible,” Rashid added.

Deputy Director of the DAE at its regional office Agriculturist Md. Moniruzzaman said adequate steps and training programs have been taken to popularise the ADW irrigation technology among farmers in Rangpur region.

“The farmers are reaping benefits from adopting the ADW irrigation technology reducing irrigation frequencies and use of diesel and electricity improving efficiency of irrigation water use to get increased rice yield in recent years,” Moniruzzaman added.