Farmers become self-sufficient by grass cultivation.
Napier or Pakchang grass is a useful and excellent food for cattle including cows, goats and buffaloes. Cows and goats play a special role in milk production. Rich in protein, this grass is able to meet the animal’s food needs. As a result, farmers have a demand for this grass. Due to the demand, many of the cattle farmers cultivate for their own needs, while many have benefited by cultivating this Napier or Pakchang grass for business. Only by cultivating this grass, many farmers including Gopal Milon and Moshiur of Gopalganj area of Dinajpur Sadar Upazila have become self-sufficient today.
Napier or Pakchang grass is in great demand and can be sold by van. Once the seedlings are planted, they become seedlings in succession for 5 years. That is, when the grass grows big, after cutting, the seedlings start growing from the grass. So many farmers make a living by cultivating Pakchang grass.
Milon, a farmer from Gopalganj area of Dinajpur Sadar, said, “I have leased about 11 bighas of land and cultivated Napier or Pakchang grass.” Urea, potash, dab and sulfur fertilizers have to be used in the land. The land needs a lot of water. Yield is good. It is suitable for mowing in about 50 to 60 days after planting. The whole grass grows from 5 feet to 7 feet long. Grass can be cut 5 to 6 times a year. It costs 10-12 thousand taka to produce grass per bigha at a time and if sold it earns 15-18 thousand taka. Grass is sold at 7-8 taka per atti. But the price of grass is higher in winter season. And to lease one bigha of land every year, the land owner has to pay 15 thousand to 16 thousand taka. Even then it is profitable.
Another farmer, Mashiur Rahman of Hatkhola village in Chirirbandar upazila, said his cousins had been cultivating the crop for 15 years. I have leased three bighas of land in Gopalpur village of Sheikhpura UP and cultivated grass. The land owner has to pay Tk. 54,000 every year. Ati is made from 6-7 grasses and is suitable for sale. Grass seedlings are also sold at Tk. 600 per bag. Those are the grasshoppers. He added that Chirirbandar is cultivating Pakchang grass on lease of 4 bighas of land in its area, not in Sadar upazila. In Chirirbandar upazila, the cultivation of this Napier grass is more.
In this regard, Dr. Md. Abdur Rahim, Livestock Officer of Dinajpur Sadar Upazila, said that many farmers make a living by cultivating Pakchang grass. This grass contains about 14% protein. This grass of excellent quality with health compliance is able to meet the demand of animal feed.
He added that Pakchang grass is being cultivated in about 30 acres of land in Sadar upazila. The Upazila Animal Resources Office provided free saplings to the farmers for Pakchang grass cultivation and gave various directions for grass cultivation.