Mustard growers have been eyeing a bumper production this season with a hope to recoup losses they suffered previously due to severe crop failures.
Farmers and agriculturists expressed optimism that favourable weather condition would bring bonanza for the growers.
Mustard seed yield dropped to 0.62 million tonnes in the last season from 0.82 million tonnes the previous season, according to the provisional data of the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS).
The overall oilseed production saw a sharp decline in the outgoing calendar year 2018 after registering continuous rise during the period from 2014 to 2017, BBS data showed.
Two spells of flooding in the later part of 2017 led to severe waterlogging which continued until January 2018, badly affecting the cultivation of mustard, farmers and officials said.
As a result, major mustard-growing districts, including Sirajganj, Bogra, Pabna, Rajshahi, Thakurgaon, Kushtia, Jhinaidah, Jamalpur, Madaripur, Tangail and Manikganj, witnessed 20 to 35 per cent crop losses in 2018.
But the situation is likely to change this season.
During a recent visit to Manikganj, this FE correspondent found vast croplands blazing with yellow mustard flowers and both growers and beekeepers passing a busy time.
Aiyub Ali Shah, a farmer at Jhauer Chor village under Singair in Manikganj, told the FE that he has cultivated mustard on three bighas of land this season.
He expects to harvest 19 maunds of mustard in February, which could earn him around Tk 37,000 (Tk 1900-Tk 1950 per maund).
"I counted a loss of Tk 9,000 in the last season as I got only 5.0 maunds of mustard from 2.0 bighas of land," he said.
Waterlogging and bad weather hit the oilseed farming badly in his territory at that time, he added.
However, his fellow farmers are also hopeful of making a handsome profit (30-35 per cent) this season, which could help them recover their earlier losses.
Dr Md Abdul Muyeed, director of field service wing of the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE), told the FE that they had a target to grow 0.84 million tonnes of mustard seeds on 0.44 million hectares of land this season.
But farmers brought 0.46 million hectares of land under mustard farming, he added.
Mustard grows well at a temperature between 10 degree Celsius (C) and 25°C, he said, adding that the presence of lesser fog now might also help get a bumper production.
According to insiders, higher local production might also help reduce dependence on import of the produce.
According to the Bangladesh Vegetable Oil Refiners & Vanaspati Manufacturers Association, local producers churn out 0.3 million tonnes of mustard oil a year.
The commerce ministry data show local producers also imported 0.18 million tonnes of mustard seed from in 2018.
Biswajit Saha, general manager at City Group, which sells Teer-brand mustard and soybean oil, said they usually prefer local mustard seeds to imported ones for their better quality.
He said the import by local companies might come down in 2019 due to bumper production in the country.
Beekeepers were also eyeing to make profits this year, relying on healthy crop fields of mustard and other oilseeds.
The country produces nearly 10,000 tonnes of honey a year, of which 4,500 tonnes is collected from mustard and other oil seeds and spice fields, according to the Bangladesh Beekeepers' Foundation (BBF).
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