Desk Report :
Two years back a woman in a remote countryside accidentally stumbled upon some highly potential sheaves of paddy, which held much more grains than usually farmers get to see in their rice fields.
Fatema Begum, now 65, of the district’s Fakirhat upazila gave it a thought and preserved the seeds for multiplication. Eventually after couple of subsequent rice seasons she managed to grow more of these potential breed thereby, now getting recognized in her locality as the developer of ‘Fatemadhan’.
Local agriculture department officials also see potentials in the rice seeds developed by Fatema Begum, wife of Sekandar Ali of Chakulia village under Fakirhat’s Betga union.
They also sent the rice samples to Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation (BADC) and Soil Resource Development Institute (SRDI) for tests and research.
Talking to UNB recently, Fatema Begum said, in 2016 she noticed a few paddy sheaves distinct from others while harvesting a hybrid rice variety during Boro season. “I found those sheaves were much longer than others and the number of grains were almost double in quantity,” she said.
Later, she separated those sheaves and processed those for the next season, she added.
Seeing this rice yielding more than any other varieties, Fatema Begum told her son Md Labuyat to cultivate these separately, she said adding that around 2.5 kilograms of rice was produced then.
“I processed all of those as seeds and persevered for the next season,” she added.
In the next season, she made saplings and planted those in around 42 decimal of land, she said.
This rice looks like high-yielding BRRIdhan-28, Fatema told this correspondent.
Fatema’s son Md Labuyat said, “Compared to other varieties, a sheaf of this kind is much longer and broader.”
He used 20 kg urea fertilizer and 30 kg of potassium in two phases as well as sprayed insecticides in two times, he added.
“We have processed around 2,600 kg of ‘Fatemadhan’ this season. After keeping some for the next season, we sell most of them for Tk. 400 per kg,” Labuyat said.
People from different parts of the country came to Fatema’s house to collect the seeds.
Deputy Assistant Agriculture Officer Solaiman Ali of Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) told UNB that they felt encouraged seeing high yield potential of the rice.
Another DAE official Motahar Hossain said, “This variety is cultivated in the Boro season. The seedbed was prepared in November and planted at the end of December. This type of rice can be harvested within 150 to 155 days of planting.”
Motahar said, the average length of each plant is from 115 to 130 centimeter, number of tiller is eight and the average height of each sheaf is 36 centimeters. The yield is above 11 metric tons per hectare.
“Rice samples have been sent to Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation and Soil Resource Development Institute for further research,” he added.unb