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Short-term cash crop production can effectively combat Monga


An eminent agro-economist and researcher has suggested taking short-term cash crop production programme and medium-term projects like pisciculture to create a massive number of jobs for the poorer section of the people to combat Monga, an annual phenomenon that appears in the Bengali months of Ashwin and Kartik in northern Bangladesh, reports BSS.
Bangladesh Agricultural University Professor and Bangladesh Public Service Commission member Mahfuzur Rahman brought forth four reasons for the seasonal crisis.
He extensively visited Nilphamari, Lalmonirhat, Gaibandha and Kurigram districts, talked to the people and carried out a thorough observation on the problem in northern Bangladesh.
Mahfuz said there are four key factors which have been causing Monga: heavy downpour, floodwaters flowing down from neighbouring India, embankments on the upstream of Teesta on the Indian side and inefficiency of farmers in choosing the right crop for the appropriate soil.
For these reasons, farmers invariably fail to grow Boro and Aman varieties of paddy on time that ultimately invites Monga in the region. "Ultimately, the day labourers become totally jobless," he said adding that many Monga-victims take advance money from the landlords on condition that they will pay it back through their hard work during the work season.
The agro-economist described the soil mostly sandy where they grow only Kachu, Adhar Pulse, Ginger, Maize and Kawon. These productions are very low except ginger. Heavy downpour and onrush of waters from the Indian side also damage the crops.
According to his presented statistics, only in Nilphamari district about 4,500 fish ponds worth about Tk 5.5 billion (550 crore) were washed away during last flood damaging about 1,700 culverts along with paddy and other seasonal crops estimated to be worth around Tk 7.0 billion. The bulk production of ginger in the district was also damaged extensively in the flood.
Mahfuz also said the Teesta Irrigation Project was established with a view to increasing 16.0 million tonnes of additional crops. But the target could not be attained as the farmers did not get water in time for irrigation. On the other hand, they had to face untimely flood because of embankment in the upstream of the Teesta River.