Indigenous variety paddy facing extinction in Khagrachari
KHAGRACHHARI : At least 24 indigenous varieties of paddy in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) region are on the verge of extinction due to the aggression by High Yielding Variety (HYV) paddy.
Farmers in the CHT region, comprising Rangamati, Bandarban and Khagrachhari hill districts, have been cultivating HYV because of bumper output, sources in the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) said.
According to the offices of DAE in three district, there are a total of 3,24,880 acres of first class, second class and third class (Jhum) cultivable land in the CHT.
Farmers in the region annually produce around 2 lakh metric tons of paddy on the three categories of land in the CHT against the demand of 3 lakh metric tons, added the DAE sources.
Some 34 kinds of indigenous variety paddy were mainly cultivated on 11,567 acres of jhum land in Rangamati while 20,948 acres in Bandarban and 8,570 acres in Khagrachhari district in last 2-3 decades.
The varieties include Bini, Galong, Churai, Company, Sari, Sonamukhi, Sonali, Fulkulbadam, Badaiya, Kaborok, Rahamaniya, Sreenal, Surjamoni, Lal Chikon, Chakma Chikon, Kokra, Chilidan, Fedi, Kongbai, Natangpang, Parba, Mongthon, Borodan, Laldan, Tuloshibala, Malachikon, Kotmoni, Rangi, Ami, Kanaktara, Kamona, Rang, Merung and Hounbanching in CHT.
But, there is only 7- 10 kinds of native variety paddy were cultivated in Khagrachhari last year because of poor yield, said Sajai Marma, 45, a farmer of Rajjomoni Para in Sadar upazila.
“We have been losing interest in cultivating indigenous varieties as we get only 20-25 mounds paddy from per acre land where we can easily get 40-45 mounds from the same land by cultivating HYV paddy,” he added.
Niru Tripura, 55, another farmer from Noimail area under Dighinala upazila, said he is cultivating HYV Narisa-1, Hashikonni, BR-1, BR-20, BR-26, and BR-27 after yielding handsome output.
Hilly farmers still cultivating some native varieties including Galong, Bini, Chakma-Chikon, Fedy, Borodan, Churai, Laldan, Rangi, Surjamoni and Sonamukhi on a limited scale, Niru said adding that the indigenous varieties are now fighting with HYV and facing threat of extinction.
L-Thanga Pangkhoya, 55, of Sajek in Bagaichhari upazila in Rangamati district said native varieties’ output were very poor although these are tasty and well-flavored.
Additional Deputy Director of Rangamati DAE Haripado Das said output from native variety paddy was not satisfactory, he said adding that only eight indigenous varieties were cultivated in Rangamati district last year but on a small scale.
“Gradually HYV paddy will reach every corner of the hills as farmers are now in search of modern varieties,” he added.
Deputy Director of Khagrachhari DAE Officer Jugalpado Das said farmers of these hilly areas usually cultivate at least 30-35 indigenous-varieties of paddy since last two decades but it is matter of sorrow that only 10 kinds of native varieties were cultivated in last year. Most of the farmers are now farming HYV for more production, he said.
Deputy Director of Bandarban DAE Pranab Battachariya said farmers have to cultivate HYV to meet the local demands.