Dr. Enamul Haque of Bangladesh, along with Professor Richard Bell of Murdoch University, Western Australia, and others, has been working for the last few years on the development of the Versatile Multi Planter (VMP) for 2WT. This planter is based on the standard rotavator of the Chinese built 2WT. The rotavator has been extensively modified to a rotary strip tillage unit, and seed and fertiliser boxes have been fitted. Other features from the Chinese 2BG-6A rotary tillage seed drill have also been incorporated.
At the recent 7th World congress of Conservation Agriculture, Enam presented details of progress with this seeder/planter in Bangladesh. Around 100 units have now been sold, and the planter has been extensively used for planting a variety of crops. A detailed study of the principal areas of Bangladesh being targeted has also been undertaken.
An estimated 5-10% of farmers in several districts in North West Bangladesh, are now practicing some form of conservation farming, using the VMP. Many crop species have been planted and successfully grown.
Results have been variable. This has depended largely on the general agronomic practices being used by the participating farmers. Some results have been excellent, whilst others have been disappointing. Challenges such as scarcity of planters when required, and financial difficulties with purchase have also emerged.
Enam informs me that progress is being made, although slow. The general skepticism of sections of the farming community and the belief that ‘more tillage equals higher production’ are ongoing challenges to be overcome. A full description of the VMP is at: A versatile multi-crop planter for smallholders’ conservation agriculture in Asia and Africa M.D. Haque & R.W. Bell. Proceedings of 7th World Congress on Conservation Agriculture September 2017 Rosario Argentina pp 101-105 https://proceedingswcca.files.wordpress.com/2017/08/7th-wcca_proceedings_final.pdf