Can farmers play such role in the field?

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Md. Kamruzzaman Khan Picklu, Chitalmari, Bagerhat:

The answer to the question is ‘Yes’ in the Bangladesh context in some situation as farmers in Chitalmari upazila in Bagerhat district were seen taking the plow yoke instead of bulls.

However, when this happens frequently, that may raise question. Farmers in Chitalmari have started using people instead of land for cultivation due to the want of cattle or agricultural machineries.

Farmers in Chitalmari upazila, said there is a shortage of plowing bull in their area while cow dung straw or ‘kuto’ is being sold at high prices. Straw is being brought from Tungipara and Mollahat upazilas to Chitalmari for sale. But the land owners are not finding any way to deal with the crisis of flat land for cattle.

Sudhir Roy, the eldest son of the late Banchari Bihari Roy of the village Aruaborni Darpara in Chitalmari Sadar Union used to bring cows from the Indian border to sell at the local market and plow.

Commenting on the land crisis, he said, “As a result of cutting ditches in flat crop lands and creating fish pens, the number of cattle and land is declining.”

As before, there is no flat field for grazing cattle in Chitalmari upazila. Due to this, the number of domestic cows has also decreased. Cattle feeding grass born on the banks of the fence is also being poisoned. Since the beginning of the fish farm in the Chitalmari area in the nineties of the last century, cattle grazing land has been shrunk or nearly destroyed.

Witnesses said that cow-feeding straws are being bought and sold every day near Durgapur Math on the side of Chitalmari-Bagerhat main road. But the price is too high. Here are the people from different areas involved in the hay business.

Al Amin Sheikh, son of Akkel Ali of Aruadihi village in neighboring Mollahat upazila said that he had been coming to the Chitalmari Durgapur Shiva temple for the last three years to trade straw.

He further said that straw comes to Chitalmari from different areas including Tarail of Tungipara and Aruadihi of Mollahat and the villagers of different villages of Chitalmari bought the straw and took it to the monastery.

Every bundle of straw weighing about five to seven pounds is being sold at Tk 1,500 to Tk 7,000. This straw is sold from Kartik to Chaitra. Eight to nine employees work in Al Amin’s hay business per day, he said.

According to the Upazila Livestock Officer’s Office, the number of cows in Chitalmari Upazila is 59,267.

An adult cow needs about 10 kg of food per day with dry hay or straw and grass. Due to the shrimp gher, the land for cattle has drastically decreased in the recent years.