Recent flood has made life challenging in different affected communities of the country. Regular farming is also hindered. It has become problematic to prepare traditional seedbeds due to the floodwater and scarcity of highland. Many people anticipated a seedling crisis for transplanted Aman paddy once the floodwater recedes. The risk is mitigated largely as the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) made a timely response by emphasizing alternative seedbed preparations in the affected communities of the country during peak Aman season.

DAE encouraged alternative solutions like makeshift seedbeds with floating capacity or added mobility. These seedbeds are mostly floating or portable trays placed at water-bodies or at rooftops, terraces and floors of the houses temporarily. In an instant response to DAE’s call, ACI Motors supplied these trays which were produced by ACI Premio Plastics (a subsidiary of ACI) for the benefit of farmers. The benefits of such alternative seedbeds are manifold. Firstly, it enables our farmers to buy more time eliminating the lag for growing Aman paddy seedlings. Moreover, the inter-cropping gap can be minimized. Secondly, some studies identified that these alternative seedbeds can be cost-effective for farmers. Thirdly, an added advantage of these unconventional seedbeds is that it can be placed on land and used even after the water dries up. According to IRRI, unhealthy and aged seedling causes 10% yield loss which can be evaded through these alternative seedbeds. Furthermore, timely transplantation will help farmers to avoid yield loss. In other words, much of the land could have remained fallow due to the anticipated seedling crisis if these unusual seedbeds were not made. From a strategic point of view, alternative seedbeds contributed to ensuring the country's food security.

The farmers, distressed by the flood, are now relieved from the additional challenge of seedbed preparation for the transplanted Aman rice season. With this transformation, adaptive approach and innovation in agricultural extension services, our farming communities will become further resilient and capable to recover losses confidently.

Dr. F H Ansarey
Managing Director & CEO
ACI Agribusiness

Picture 1- Makeshift Seedbeds on Terrace (Source: Collected)
Picture 2- Country's first locally manufactured portable seedling trays from ACI Motors.