Tractor restrictions hamper agriculture

The ban on tractor and tractor-run vehicles on inter-district roads has led both farmers and tractor labourers to face crisis in some districts in the northern region, claimed farmers.

The government wants to use modern machinery in the agriculture sector to increase production of all agro-based products to boost the country’s economy. 

Every year, the government has given subsidy in the agriculture sector to modernize it.  But use of 100 per cent machinery is yet needed for agricultural lands.

Tractor is one of the most vital pieces of equipment in agriculture land cultivation as it plays a vital role in reducing expenditure for cultivating land and helping more production of crops. Tractors are also used transporting produced crops. 

But  the ban on tractor and tractor-run vehicles on roads is severely hampering the livelihood of both farmers and tractor labourers in the country’s northern region.

Sources said, the local administration is not allowing tractors to be used for other work except for agriculture-based work. Panic has been prevailing among the farmers of the area for the stop to using tractors in their districts.

Recently, a human chain was held at Gobidaganj of Gaibandha district. Abdus Sattar, a farmer said, “We earn some money for transporting materials through tractors. But the local administration does not allow us to transport other goods through tractors. We bought tractors after taking loans. Now we cannot pay the loan installments on time.”

“Sometimes I had to go to district areas with my tractor for refueling and sometimes cross district roads to cultivate other farmers’ lands,” he said, adding that due to the ban on tractors on inter-district roads, such activities have come to an end.

“Sometimes they have to pay bribe to the authorities concerned to cross the interdistrict roads,” he claimed.

About the matter, Upazila Nirbahi Officer of Gobindaganj Upazila said, tractors have been imported for use in agriculture-based work. But some farmers are misusing it, like in carrying sand from the river banks, which is totally illegal.

“We are considering the humanitarian matter of farmers. We can relax the directive on using tractors, except for in sand carrying,” he added.

Engineer Sadid Jamil, Managing Director, Metal Private Limited, said October-December is the main tractor sale period, but no tractor has been sold in the northern region.

“If there is any problem involving tractor, the government should solve it as early as possible,” he said. If the tractor sector faces crisis, farm mechanization would be hampered, he added.

Meanwhile, there are some 50,000 tractors in operation in the country, according to Agricultural Tractor Association of Bangladesh. In last couple of months, tractors are not allowed to run on inter-district roads.

The tractor is being used for 97 percent paddy land cultivation, 42 percent potato land cultivation, 22 percent jute cultivation, 16 percent corn land cultivation, 13 percent wheat cultivation, 11 percent nut land cultivation, 6 percent soybean land cultivation and 4 percent mustard land cultivation, according to a government statistics.