There is a lot of potential for agricultural production in the saline areas of the coastal lands and southern parts of the country. In the meantime, agricultural scientists have been able to develop salinity tolerant improved varieties of many crops including paddy, pulses, watermelon, potato, maize, barley, sunflower and other vegetables.
Work is underway to rapidly expand these varieties and production technologies among all farmers in the vast coastal areas. A roadmap is being prepared for this purpose. If the farmers cultivate these crops, a new agricultural revolution will take place in the saline areas of the south region.
Agriculture Minister Md Abdur Razzque made the remarks at a farmers' rally in Dumuria upazila of Khulna on Sunday.
He said, “About 25 percent of the country's area is coastal area. Due to the salinity of the area, earlier there was only a crop all year round. For the rest of the year after harvesting Aman paddy, huge amount of land was left abandoned. We have been working to cultivate crops twice or three times in a year in these areas. There have already been many successes. Different crops can be produced in the areas throughout the year.”
"Initiatives are being taken to dig or re-excavate more than 600 canals in Khulna and Bagerhat areas to alleviate the problem of irrigation, the minister said.
It may be mentioned that according to the Department of Agricultural Extension, the total land area in the coastal area is 28.30 lakh hectares, of which 21.62 lakh hectares are cultivable. The amount of saline area is 10.56 lakh hectares. In addition, more than 5 lakh hectares of land in the coastal areas remain uncultivated during the dry season every year due to the scarcity of water.
During the visit, local MP and former minister Naryaon Chandra Chanda, Senior Secretary of the Agriculture Ministry Md Mesbahul Islam, Additional Secretary Wahida Akter, Director General of the Department of Agricultural Extension Md Asadullah, BADC Chairman Dr Amitabh Sarkar, BARC Executive Chairman Dr Sheikh Mohammad Bakhtiyar, BRRI DG Shahjahan Kabir, BARI DG Nazirul Islam, Khulna Deputy Director of Agriculture Extension Md Hafizur Rahman and others were present.