ABSTRACT

The present study was conducted in some selected areas of the Sunamganj district of Bangladesh. The main aim of this study was to investigate the present irrigation practices for Boro rice farmers and compare profitability under different methods of irrigation. The primary field data were collected through interviewing from 100 Boro rice farmers (landless, small, medium, and large farmers). The study revealed that most of the farmers (38.1%) used surface water (beel) for irrigation purposes. As water-lifting devices, they mainly used the Low Lift Pump (LLP), the Shallow Tube Well (STW), and traditional equipment for irrigation by the respondents of 75%, 16.36%, and 8.65%, respectively. Due to the high cost of irrigation pumps, 73.68% of respondents rented irrigation from the pump owners. Total input cost for STW was Tk. 35,751; for LLP, it was Tk. 31,251; and for traditional equipment, it was Tk. 34,076. The gross return (Tk. 73,137) was the highest  for STW users, but the highest BCR (benefit-cost ratio) was in the LLP irrigation method, which was 2.28 due to a lower cost than STW. The lowest BCR was in the traditional irrigation system, which was 2.01. The BCR of the STW irrigation system was 2.04. The average water productivity of STW was 0.452 kg/m3. For diesel engines, the average water productivity was 0.446 kg/m3, and for electric engines, the average water productivity was 0.458 kg/m3. The average water productivity of LLP was 0.413 kg/m3, which is lower than STW. The average water productivity of the traditional method in the study area was 0.397 kg/m3, which is lower than both the STW and LLP methods.

Key words: Water productivity, boro rice, irrigation

 

Introduction

 There are three distinct growing seasons viz. Aus, Aman, and Boroallow for year-round rice production in Bangladesh. In general, from December to April, when boro rice is cultivated, the dry condition prevails through the country. Farmers generally use surface water sources including rivers, canals, and ponds, as well as groundwater sources like shallow and deep tube wells as main sources for irrigation. The pressure on freshwater resources around the world is rising to previously unheard-of levels due to rising populations, food shortages, expanding economies, and inadequate water management. The greatest notable change in Bangladeshi agriculture over the past 25 years has likely been groundwater irrigation. The groundwater development project in Dinajpur district under the northwest region was initiated in 1962 with the installation of 381 deep tube wells (DTW). It was reported that there were 1,378 DTWs, about 40,331 shallow tube wells (STW), and 66,400 hand tube wells (HTW) under operation by different user groups but that they failed to bring all cultivable lands under irrigation. In 2004, 6,047 DTWs, 70,000 STWs, and other modes of irrigation were used in the area, which covered almost 57% of the total irrigable area (BMDA 2011). The remaining 43% of the irrigable area was planned to be covered under the DTWs installation project named ‘Groundwater model study for DTW installation project in Barind area’. In recent years, the Barind Multipurpose Development Authority (BMDA) has installed more than 10,000 DTWs in the Barind area of the northwest region. In addition, quite a large number of STWs have been installed in this region by private initiatives (Ahmad et al., 2014). In Bangladesh, rice production increased from 25.09 million metric tons in 2000-01 to 37.8 million metric tons in 2020-21 (BBS, 2021). The need for irrigation in Bangladeshi agriculture, however, is dramatically rising from season to season as a result of the country’s shifting climate. Due to the current climatic change, irrigation is now required both in the kharif season and