Pulses become the food crop of Bangladesh

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Dhaka, Bangladesh

The growing demand for pulses among the people of Bangladesh is motivating local farmers to cultivate the popular crop across the country despite some difficulties.

Pulses, locally known as ‘Dal’, are a hugely popular diet in South Asian countries of almost 170 million people for generations, officials and farmers seen on World Pulses Day observed on Thursday.

Pulses are the second most common source of nutrition after rice in Bangladesh.

In hotels, restaurants, student dormitories, officers’ and workers’ messes, hospitals, and all other public places, one of the most common foods is legumes. Both rich and poor keep pulses in their regular food menu.

“I can’t imagine not having legumes on my menu, especially at lunchtime,” Md. Mohsin, a private employee in the port city of Chattogram, told Anadolu Agency.

Hailing from the remote southern region of the country, he added that since childhood it has been the most common diet for him after rice.

“Whatever recipes we prepare for lunch and dinner, pulses are part of it,” said Md. Shah Alam, registrar of a private university in the southwestern district of Khulna.

Emphasizing that pulses are one of the main sources of nutrition, he added, “During my 50 years of life, I saw this common food when I lived with my parents in the village and now it is common in my family and I hope my children will also continue the trend.

In the capital Dhaka, there are thousands of day laborers, including rickshaw pullers, who mainly eat pulses from floating food facilities on various paths along busy roads.

At wedding ceremonies and birthday parties, pulses are served with various other delicious dishes. “Pulses have become a food crop in Bangladesh,” Md. Imran Hossain, a private employee from the Paltan area of ​​Dhaka, told Anadolu Agency while having lunch at a roadside food facility.

Rapid growth

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Mohammad Mofazzal, a farmer from remote Barishal region, said they had been growing rice for generations, but in recent years they have started growing pulses along with other crops. seasonal crops.

“Last year, I grew pulses spending nearly 4,000 (Bangladeshi) taka (about $48) and earned 22,000 taka ($262) in three months,” he said. , adding that the process of growing pulses is easier than many other crops.

“First I reserve the pulses needed for a year for my family, then I sell the remaining amount,” he said, adding that thousands of other farmers were doing the same.

He felt, however, that if the cost of production was reduced, farmers would be encouraged to produce more pulses. “My sincere request to the government is to reduce the prices of fertilizers and pesticides so that the cost of producing this vital crop is reduced.”

Corrupt Syndicate

Northern regions of Bangladesh like Pabna and Rajshahi are popular for growing pulses. Farmers in these areas have accused some corrupt unions of depriving farmers of a fair price for pulses.

“Most of the time we don’t get the price set by the government because some corrupt syndicates always exploit the farmers,” Syed Hasan Miraj, a farmer from northern division of Rajshahi, told Anadolu Agency.

He said that despite less cost and labor, farmers sometimes don’t grow pulses because they don’t get a fair price for their produce because of these unions.

“Normally, the cost of growing pulses on 1 acre (0.4 hectare) of land can be a maximum of 3,500 taka ($42), but if you want to plant rice on the same land, you will have to spend 20,000 taka. takas ($238). ),” Miraj said.

He said many Bangladeshi farmers lacked knowledge on scientific cultivation of pulses, adding that agricultural officers and scientists should help farmers learn better cultivation techniques.

Raising products

“This food meets the nutritional needs of non-vegetarians as it contains protein, fiber and carbohydrates,” Nahiduzzaman Sajjad, a doctor in the capital Dhaka, told Anadolu Agency.

He added that as a source of nutrition for a large number of people, the uninterrupted supply of pulses must be ensured across the country.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Md. Mohi Uddin, director of the government-run Pulse Research Center at the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI), said they are working to invent new varieties pulses to increase productivity and reduce costs.

He added that there was unused and relatively infertile land in many parts of Bangladesh that could be used for growing pulses. “This crop is more resistant to infertile land than many other crops.”

The scientist added that nearly 60% of this food in Bangladesh is imported to meet local demand.

“The total annual requirement of pulses in Bangladesh is currently about 2.5 million tonnes. Among them, we produce almost a million tons and we have to import the rest,” he said.

Highlighting the government’s plans to increase the cultivation of pulses on a surplus scale, he said this popular food not only meets the nutritional needs of humans, but also other domestic animals. “It also keeps the soil healthy.”

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