Organic vegetables a boon for Rajshahi farmers

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By Dr Aynal Haque

RAJSHAHI, May 23, 2021 (BSS)- Organic vegetable farming has become a boon for many of the growers as they are getting extra benefits besides ensuring safe vegetables to the consumers in general.

After getting government technical support the farmers are seen using different types of organic and bio-fertilizers and pesticides instead of the conventional chemical ones.

“I have attained more bean yield from ten decimals of land after using organic fertilizer and pesticides compared to the conventional method,” said Ismail Hossain, a resident of Parila village under Paba Upazila.

He received 40 kilograms of organic fertilizer and five packets of seed for the bean cultivation from the government under the safe vegetable production programme.

Ismail is one among 500 farmers, who brought 100 acres of land under the safe vegetables production programme, cultivating varieties of seasonal vegetables encouraging and inspiring many of their fellow farmers to follow the best farming practices at the area.

Hossain said the Parila area has become a model in terms of safe vegetable production for the last couple of years.

“We are reaching safe vegetables to different parts of the country including the capital Dhaka regularly,” he said, adding the beneficiary farmers are being benefited in many ways.

On behalf of the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE), the farmers were earlier imparted training on how to boost the production of safe vegetables. District and Upazila level agricultural officials are monitoring the farming activities closely.

Paba Upazila Agriculture Officer Sharmin Sultana said vegetables are being produced through organic methods. Farmers are being motivated towards safe food production for the sake of ensuring sound public health.

With this breakthrough, farmers have started growing vegetables through using organic fertilisers like vermicompost instead of chemical ones in the region including its vast Barind Tract.

Gardening around homesteads in the current season through using the organic fertiliser has been gaining popularity among the people with production of different fruits and vegetables in safe and hygienic ways for the last couple of years.

“I have cultivated bottle gourd, cucumber and coriander on 16 decimals of land beside our homestead by using organic fertilizer this year, and I got expected production,” Abdul Hakim, a farmer of Baroipara village, said.

Anwar Hossain, 36, wife of Sabdul Mian in Darusha village of Paba upazila said, “We have been producing chemical-free vegetables, using vermin-compost. We are also selling some vegetables in the local market after meeting the family’s demand.”

Banera Khatun, 40, a farmer at Alipur village in Durgapur upazila, said chemical-free vegetables are in high demand at the village, and locals purchase the vegetables at higher prices.

Ali Hossain, 48, of Mirganj village under Bagha Upazila said he cultivated red leafy, bottle gourd, carrot, snake gourd and napa shak on 40 decimals of land by using bio-fertilizer.

He is not to go to the local market to sell the vegetables, rather villagers come to his home to purchase vegetables at high prices, he said.

If all the farmers grow chemical-free vegetables by using vermicompost on their lands, it will meet people’s demand for chemical-free foods.

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.

Besides the DAE, Bangladesh Agriculture Research Institute (BARI) has been providing necessary support alongside need-based training and required inputs to the farmers to grow safe vegetables.

Dr Shakhawat Hossain, Senior Scientific Officer of BARI, said a large-scale promotion of homestead gardening is very important for getting regular cash crops together with meeting the nutritional demands.

He added more people in general should come forward towards cultivating vegetables, fruits and crops on the fallow lands surrounding their dwelling houses and rooftops, which can ensure availability of fresh and chemical-free fruits and vegetables.