The Bangladesh Institute of Nuclear Agriculture (Bina) has invented a new high-yielding variety of mustard which can help meet the country's demand for edible oil in the next four to five years.
Having a short lifespan, the new verity called Bina Mustard-10 can be produced without tilling the land and 1,200 kg can be produced in a hectare of land, which is the double of existing production.
"Farmers can yield the crop after 80-85 days of sowing the seeds in the land," said Sushan Chauhan, officer-in-charge of the Bina sub-station in Magura.
"Most of the lands in Magura remain fallow for more than two months – from the harvesting Aman paddy to the sowing of Boro seeds. As a result, farmers can make more profits by producing the new variety of mustard in the same field," he added.
Moreover, ploughing the land is not essential for Bina Mustard-10 cultivation. After harvesting the paddy, the mustard seeds and fertiliser have to be put on the land with zero tillage. No irrigation or fertiliser is required in the later stage, he said further.
Farmers in Moghi union under Magura Sadar have cultivated Bina Mustard-10 on 20 acres of land in the current season after harvesting Aman paddy.
The farmer said they had cultivated the crop almost without any cost and the yield was also double.
"All farmers had a bumper yield," said Sushan.
Shampa Rani Ghosh, scientific officer at Bina Magura sub-centre, said Bina Mustard-10 was developed in 2014 but it used to be cultivated in the traditional method. From this year, the mustard variety is cultivated without ploughing the land.
Omar Ali, a farmer of Moghi area, said this year he along with other farmers had sowed Bina Mustard-10 seeds immediately after harvesting Aman without any ploughing, as per the advice and assistance of the Bina.
"We use fertiliser in the land only once. No irrigation and fertiliser is required yet we harvest bumper yields. Each mustard plant is full of flowers," he said.
Abdur Razzak, another farmer from the same area, said the Bina had provided them free mustard seeds.
There is no additional cost except harvesting the crop and transporting that to home, he added.
Sohrab Hossain, district training officer at the department of agricultural extension in Magura, said, "With the assistance of Bina Magura sub-centre, we have been providing advice for the farmers at the field level for expansion of Bina mustard-10 farming. Farmers have shown great interest as they got good crops in a short time without any tillage."
He also said this mustard variety would be cultivated in more lands in the future which would play a role in meeting the country's demand for edible oil.
Bina Director General Dr Biresh Kumar Goswami said, "The country's annual demand for edible oil is 16 lakh tonnes while production is only two lakh tonnes. The remaining 14 lakh tonnes are imported at a cost of Tk12,000 crore.
However, imported edible oil contains only 30 percent soybean while the remaining 70 percent is chemicals harmful to the human body."
If high-yielding Bina Mustard-10 can be cultivated all over the country, we can meet the demand for safe edible oil in the next four to five years," he added.