The cultivation of pulse and pulse-like nitrogen fixation (NF) crops are decreasing day by day in Rajshahi. As a result, people of the region are being deprived of vegetable-protein consumption and the soil is also losing its fertility.
According to sources of the Agricultural Extension Department in Rajshahi, the cultivation of NF plants like Mung-bean has dropped to 3,260 hectares as against some 4,000 hectares of land last year.
According to sources of Rajshahi Agriculture Office, NF plant Mungbean is widely cultivated in Bangladesh, India and most of the countries of South-East Asia, South America and Australia. In Bangladesh, some 34,000 metric tonnes of Mungbean is produced in around 56,000 hectares of land annually.
In Rajshahi, the production of Mungbean dropped because of excessive heat and the lack of water (rain fall) this year. The average temperature for a sound production of mungbean is 30 to 35 degree Celsius but after the sowing of Mungbean seed, the average temperature remained above 35 degree and there was no rainfall. As a result, the Mungbean cultivation in the district faced a setback.
Agriculture Extension Department sources in Rajshahi informed, varieties of Mungbean are cultivated in the country of which Kanti, Pragati, Rupsa, BARI Mung-5, Taiwani BINA Mung, and Mubarig Mung are popular to the farmers. One to one and a half tonnes of Mung is produced in a hectare of land on an average.
Like mungbean, the cultivation of other NF crops like lentil, Soyabean, Pea, Kalai and Dhaincha is also decreasing in Rajshahi, resulting in a loss of natural nitrogen in the soil. According to sources, two groups of herbaceous and woody plants have the ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen in the soil, legumes and actinomycete.
Leguminous crops like mungbean, pulse, pea and Soybean with the help of Rhizobium bacteria, form nodules in the roots of their host plants. The plants provide the bacteria with carbohydrates for energy and a stable environment for growth, while the bacteria give the plants usable nitrogen and other essential nutrients. The rest of the soil and succeeding plants benefit from the nitrogen and other rich compounds exuded from the nodules, and from the recycling of the nitrogen as the plant drops its leaves or decays.
The NF plant nodules increase fertility of soil by depositing nitrogen there. Due to the decrease of cultivation of NF plants and crops, the soil fertility of the region is depleting and use of chemical fertiliser is increasing.
The fall in cultivation of NF plants like Pulse, Mungbean and Pea is also decreasing vegetable-protein intake of poor people.
As a result, the nation is losing both soil and human nutrients.