Water logging tolerant rice ensures food sovereignty of Shilpi Akter

Water-logging tolerant rice ensures food sovereignty of Shilpi Akter Shilpi Akter is a marginal farmer. She lives at Dewli village, of Delduar upazila in Tangail district. She has a family of four members including her husband, Mobarak Hosain (45) and two daughters. They own 75 decimals of cultivable land. They live in the lower Jamuna flood plain area. Flood and inundation are their natural companions. Shilpi Akter mentioned their fields are inundated for about six months. The land remains fallow in the rainy season in most of the years. In the rabi (winter) season they grow rabi crops including mustard, pulses, foxtail millet and vegetables. Mobarak Hosain, husband of Shilpi Akter mentioned that even in the rainy season Chamara and Digha varieties of rice would grow luxuriantly. For last 15-16 years, after the introduction of IRRI rice the local varieties of rice have eroded. This year he attended a course of Nayakrishi Learning session, Mobarak Hosain mentioned. Cultivation without pesticides, chemical fertilizer, preparation of compost, mixed cropping and cultivation with local seeds were discussed in this training. Deep water paddy like Chamara, Digha, Patishail and Dhepa were also discussed. Then he remembered his old days. He remembered that they had crops even the field was inundated. They had no reason to lose their seed stock. In the kharif season they cultivated Hijaldigha and Dhepa varieties of rice with seeds received from Nayakrishi. They did not use any chemical fertilizer and pesticides. There was water in the field in the rainy season. The rice crop went under water. Even then there was no problem. Shilpi Akter mentioned that they had grown rice on one bigha of land with five kilograms seeds of each of the variety of Hijaldigha and Dhepa. They got nine mounds of paddy. In addition they got rice straw good enough for about a year for two cows. In October they had broadcasted black gram seed in the field before the harvest of rice. The black gram came up after the harvest of rice. They got three mounds of black gram grains from the same land. They have surplus of black gram after meeting their family needs. The straw from the black gram crop is good folder for cows. In terms of cash investment they needed only three labor for sowing rice seeds and three labor for harvesting rice. The rest of works were accomplished with labor from family source. Shilpi Akter further mentioned that she was much benefited with the training and seeds received from Nayakrishi. The land would remain fallow in absence of the seed that she received from Nayakrishi. She would run short of food grain for the family members and there would be shortage of fodder for the cows. The rice from Dhepa variety was used for making puffed rice and that of Digha for making rice cake for the festival. She saved rice seed for her next year's sowing. A seed hut was established in the village. Shilpi Akter stored 15 kg seeds. Other farmers in the village are benefited from this seed hut. The farmers are much benefited with the return of the Digha and Dhepa varieties of rice. Number of varieties of fish are coming back again as the use of pesticides has been stopped in this village. The uncultivated foods including shapla, shaluk, ghechu, kochu are now growing in abundance. Food for all the people including farmers, fishers, rich and poor are ensured after the reintroduction of water logging tolerant rice varieties.

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