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Prospect of intercropping mulberry with other cash crops bright: Experts

WT24 Desk

Prospect of intercropping mulberry trees with some other vegetables and spices is very bright to boost additional income from the same land together with silk cocoon production throughout the country, scientists and researchers concerned here said,AFP reports.

They viewed that some vegetables, spices and crops including black gram and wheat could easily be produced in between the spaces of mulberry rows for maximum utilization of the land resources.

Professor Dr Selina Parween of Department of Zoology of Rajshahi University said the prospect has been increased with extension of mulberry cultivation on around 8,000 hectares of land including roadside plantation throughout the country for the last couple of years. Actually, the mulberry is cultivated for silkworm rearing and production of silk cocoon.

He said domestic silk could not compete with the imported silk in terms of price and quality and domestic silk has gradually losing its market since 1995.
Subsequently, the traditional silk industry had been incurring loss and the affected mulberry farmers forcing them to shift their ancestral mulberry farming to other seasonal crops.

The mulberry cultivation is more or less dependent on the fallow lands but the roadside mulberry plants without proper management practice here at present.

Taking the unexpected situation into consideration, Bangladesh Sericulture Research and Training Institute (BSRTI) has carried out some research works titled ‘technology transfer for intercropping with mulberry cultivation’ with some seasonal vegetables and spices like palangshak, lalshak, onion and arum to get additional income from the same land to encourage the cultivators for re-plantation of mulberry plants.

Jamal Uddin Shah, Director of BSRTI, told BSS that the research output was positive relating to the production of spices, vegetables and mulberry leaves along with attaining food security.

Highlighting other positive aspects of intercropping, he said that policy level decision is very essential for extension of the system to make it popular among the growers so that the system could be taken towards successful through proper motivation and demonstration among the grassroots farmers.

“As the mulberry cultivation is labor- intensive and huge womenfolk are found involved in the system, the intercropping with mulberry cultivation could be successful,” said Jamal Shah.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh Sericulture Development Board has been working actively to devise way-out to bring the existing mulberry cultivation under intercropping with other cash crops and vegetables for the sake of food security.

In this regard, many of the officials and researchers underlined the need for more on-farm research and other need-oriented activities with participation of the farmers and others concerned so that actual viabilities could be explored.

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