The Alternate Wetting and Drying (AWD) irrigation technology is becoming popular in Rangpur region as the technology saves huge underground water in irrigating fields.
The farmers of Rangpur region are reaping benefits of the AWD technology following a massive dissemination of the system by different agriculture related organisations.
The AWD is a water-saving technology that farmers can apply to reduce their irrigation water consumption in rice fields without decreasing its yield.
BSS adds: adoption of AWD irrigation technology during Boro rice farming could save minimum 30 percent irrigation water substantially reducing pressure on underground water, say experts.
Talking to BSS, noted rice scientist Dr Md Abdul Mazid, who got Independence Award 2018 Medal (food security) this year, suggested for large- scale adoption of the simplest and effective technology to cope with scarcity of irrigation water.
“Adoption of the technology can reduce 5 numbers of irrigation, save minimum 30 percent underground water, 30 litres diesel and electricity for irrigation in addition to producing 500-kg more Boro rice per hectare bringing uncountable benefits,” he said. He also favoured for crop zoning to cultivate more irrigation water consuming crops in the southern zones and less water consuming crops in the drought-prone northern zones as the agriculture sector is facing severe threat due to changing climate.
“The farmers have already started reaping benefits of the AWD technology following its dissemination to them by different agriculture related organisations,” said Dr Mazid, also a former chief scientific officer of Bangladesh Rice Research Institute.
He said lifting of underground water must be reduced to the minimum as future of agriculture depends on availability of water amid a formidable threat of climate change when there is alternative to keeping food production rate increasing.
“If the AWD method was adopted for farming Boro rice on 48-lakh hectares of land in the country, 24 lakh tonnes additional paddy worth Taka 6,400 crore would be produced annually along with saving Taka 800 crore for less use of diesel and electricity,” he said.
Dr Mazid said, “The farmers generally use 3,000 to 4,000 litres irrigated underground waters to produce one kg Boro rice, whereas it needs only 1,500 to 2,000 litres when the AWD irrigation technology used.”
While narrating the simplest technology, he said, “The AWD irrigation method determines irrigation times in growing Boro rice fields and requires only a 7 to 10-cm diameter and 25-cm long PVC pipe or hollow bamboo pieces or waste bottles of cold drinks.”
Fifteen cm on one side of the pipe is perforated for horizontal movement of water and it is to be installed vertically with its perforated portion under the ground level and the soil within it is to be scooped out to make the soil at the pipe’s lower end visible.
“The farmers should irrigate Boro 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 bottom of the pipe is visible with no water standing on soil hat,” he added.
Horticulture specialist of the Department of Agriculture Extension Khondker Md Mesbahul Islam said the AWD irrigation technology has been becoming popular among farmers in all five districts under Rangpur agriculture region in recent years.
“Some 46,216 farmers of the region used the AWD irrigation technology in cultivating Boro rice on their 3,297 hectares of land to increase rice output at lower costs reducing use of irrigation water substantially this year,’ Islam added.
Deputy Director of the DAE at its regional office Md Moniruzzaman said farmers could largely be befitted using AWD technology for reduced irrigation frequencies, improved water use efficiency, less use of diesel, electricity and increased rice yield.