By Aynal Haque
RAJSHAHI, May 21, 2021 (BSS) – Most of the kitchen markets in the region are currently buzzing with all summer vegetables like red amaranth, bottle gourd, spinach, lady’s finger, pointed gourd, bitter gourd, pumpkin and brinjal benefiting both growers and consumers.
Vegetable farming brings a smile on farmers’ faces here as they are becoming financially solvent by cultivating various types of vegetables, meeting its growing demand amid the Covid-19 pandemic situation.
At present, even many of the winter vegetables are being cultivated in the summer season. The farmers are seen showing their interests towards vegetable farming as they have been gaining more profit over the last couple of years.
Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) has set a target to produce around 9.15 lakh tonnes of summer vegetables from 49,895 hectares of land in all eight districts under the division during the current Kharif-1 season.
Sirajul Islam, additional director of the DAE, said Rajshahi division has been thought to be the country’s most prospective vegetable producing region.
“Farmers get benefits by farming vegetables in the region. It brings a smile on marginal farmers and poor people’s faces,” agriculturist Islam said, illustrating the aspects of vegetable farming.
On behalf of the ‘Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM)’ project, more than 12.58 lakh community people of 2.66 lakh households are being motivated and encouraged towards vegetable farming to reduce the pressure on underground water.
The project is being implemented in around 1,280 drought-hit villages in 39 Union Parishads (Ups) and three municipalities of eight upazilas in Rajshahi, Naogaon and Chapainawabganj districts since 2014, said Jahangir Alam Khan, coordinator of the project.
With this breakthrough, gardening around homesteads in the summer season has been gaining popularity with production of different fruits and vegetables. Marginal farmers and the poor people are mostly engaged in this venture by making the best use of free spaces around their homes.
Abdul Maleque, 54, a farmer of Bijoynagar village under Godagari Upazila, said he earned Taka 25,500 by selling red amaranth from one bigha of land after sowing its seed hardly 20 days back at a cost of Taka 12,400 like the previous couple of years.
“We are very much happy over vegetable farming because we get good yield with fair market price within a short time,” he told BSS.
Nazimul Islam, 45, another farmer of Darusha village under Paba Upazila, said not only red amaranth but also many other short duration vegetables are being produced here.
Farmers in the vast Barind tract are growing brinjal by covering the soil with polythene sheets with a view to saving the plants from being damaged by rain water.
Brinjal is generally a winter vegetable but the growers here are farming the cooking item in summer in plenty.
He said farmers are cultivating vegetables on bare lands and homesteads along with farm land, increasing its production which is changing the economic condition of local farmers.
Farmers are passing busy days with vegetable farming during the current Kharif-1 season and they are happy about their good yields with less irrigation water.
Varieties of vegetables are available in the local markets round the year because of regular farming of the crops along with other seasonal fruits and cereals.
According to the agriculturists, the growers are now busy with vegetable farming side by side with paddy and jute cultivation.