April 21, 2024, 9:15 pm

Substandard seeds posing threat to agriculture in North

  • Update Time : Friday, January 5, 2024
  • 49 Time View
A farmer selling tomato from his field after harvesting. But, he expressed dissatisfaction for getting poor yield of the popular vegetable during the season. He claimed that use of substandard seeds is the main reason behind the poor yield. Photo: The Daily Sky

Indian harmful insects, diseases entering into country with seeds, air

Rehennuma Tarannum:

Peaky and below-standard seeds mostly coming from India throughout several borders has caused of greater concern to the farmers in the northern region putting the agriculture at threat.

Lack of proper monitoring by the authorities concerned, a section of unscrupulous seed traders are selling cachectic and low standard seeds in different markets with a view to earn extra profit. Most of those seeds are entering into the country throughout several borders of the northern region without any test that posing serious threat of spreading several diseases to the plants. Not only that various harmful pests including mealybugs and planthoppers are coming into the country with the untested seeds. Consequently, agriculture of the region is now under threat.

Agriculture Extension Department (AED) sources said, farmers are nowadays inclining into modern agriculture due to blessing of high technology. Meanwhile, the proportion of commercial farming has been increased in a satisfactory level in the last one and half decade. But it is matter of woe that, there is not adequate supply of high yielding seeds for the farmers.

Bangladesh Agriculture Development Corporation (BADC) supplies only 10 percent of the high yielding seeds against the total demand. Taking the advantage, a section of unscrupulous seed traders has become reckless to sell unrefined and raw seeds in the markets after procuring from India through different borders. They pour those seeds into several colorful packages with several names of branded seeds companies after mixing with color in which the seeds look fresh and attractive. Then, those are supplied to different districts including Bogura, Sirajganj, Pabna, Natore, Rajshahi and Chapainawabganj. Among the smuggled Indian seeds, jute, maize, paddy and various hybrid vegetable seeds are significant. Meanwhile, many farmers in the region have incurred huge losses by using low standard and peaky tomato and potato seeds.

It was come to know from an investigation that, contaminated seeds reach to the country from India through different border routes during each season. The total seed businesses of the region are controlled by some 14 to 15 influential seed traders, who are directly and indirectly involved with the smuggling of seeds. After purchasing and using those contaminated seeds in the fields, farmers are being swindled.

Rustom Ali, a farmer of Shariakandi Char of Bogura district said, “I cultivated tomatoes on my two bighas of land besides my resident. But, I have got poor yield this year due to use of unhealthy and contaminated seeds purchased from local market. Thus, I have incurred loss this year.”

Noresh Bhowmik, another farmer of Chalan Beel area under Sirajganj district said, “I have incurred huge losses after cultivating maize on my five bighas of land. I used seeds, which were highly below standard and infected with diseases. But, I could not understand the fact, while I purchased that from local market. Not only maize seeds, various varieties of below standard seeds have flooded markets and the traders are selling those indiscriminately in a bid to earn extra profit. Thus, they are cheating with farmers and destroying the agriculture sector day by day. But, there is no one to see matter.”

Prof. Saiful Islam, Dean of Agriculture Department in Rajshahi University said, “Blast disease may spread into wheat and paddy field after coming with several seeds from India. Few diseases may spread through wind. So, we need to be aware since now. Otherwise, we have to face dire consequences.”

Motlubur Rahman, Deputy Director of Agriculture Extension Department (AED) in Bogura said, “Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation (BADC) authority is directly involved with supplying and testing of seeds as well as monitoring the seed market. Due to lack of proper monitoring, many fraudsters in the region have started marketing low standard seeds. Even after taking several initiatives, we can’t stop entering low standard seeds into the country through borders due to lack of adequate manpower in the department.”

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