Horticultural crops provide gainful employment for small farmers and agri labourers

Published : 29 Jan 2022 09:56 PM | Updated : 30 Jan 2022 04:38 PM

Year Round Fruit Production for Nutrition Improvement Project is highly appreciality project by the Government of Bangladesh. This project is designed for the period of July 2015 to June 2023. By the supervision of Ministry of Agriculture this project is implemented by Department of Agricultural Extension. Bangladesh with diverse soil and climate comprising several agro-ecological regions that provides ample opportunity to grow a variety of horticultural crops. These crops form a significant part of total agricultural produce in the country comprising of fruits, vegetables, root and tuber crops, flowers, ornamental plants, medicinal and aromatic plants, spices, condiments and plantation crops. It is estimated that all the horticultural crops put together cover nearly 1.39 million hectares area. In 2016-17, production of fruits and vegetables were about 5.06 and 4.02 million tons from 0.38 and 1.01 million hectares, respectively (BBS, April 2018). Though these crops occupy hardly 7% of the cropped area they contribute over 14% to the gross domestic production in the country. The cereals, our staple food is somewhat secured but nutrition is kept aside so far and now time has come to take into account the nutrition security. With the increase of population and fragmentation of land, the field crop area is decreasing day by day but the home stead area is increasing i.e. scope of horticulture is increasing. Each year around 80 thousand hectare of agricultural land is declining which consequently increases homestead areas and other industrial purpose. So, in this project provision has been taken to address these increased homestead areas. The multistoried cropping system will be introduced to grow more crops in small land. 

Kdb Dr Md Mehedi Masood, Project Director ,Year Round Fruit Production for Nutrition Improvement Project. 

Kdb. Md. Abdul Halim ,Dupty Project Director , Year Round Fruit Production for Nutrition Improvement Project.

Horticultural crops provide gainful employment for small farmers and agricultural labor round the year. One hectare of fruit production generates 860 man-days per annum as against 143 man-days for cereal crops. Some industrial attribute crops and cultural intensive crops like banana and pineapple generate much larger employment ranging from 1,000 to 2,500 man-days per hectare. The Government of Bangladesh has given prior importance to create an enabling environment and play a supportive role so that agricultural production can move from a predominantly subsistence level to a more diversified commercial pursuit with appropriate attention to the challenges of increased productivity and environmental sustainability. So, it is very much possible to ensure food security at the national and household level through producing high-value vegetables, fruits and other horticultural crops by implementing this project. The Government is also committed to ensure required input supplies, credit deliveries, technological support and marketing support services in this regard. 

The challenge now is to grow more food with higher nutritional quality than ever before, on a continually shrinking agricultural land area. There has been a paradigm shift in the perceptions of the farmers from production (total quantity) to productivity (quantity/unit area) to profitability (quantity/unit area/unit time/man). The solution for many of the above issues lies in developing and adopting newer techniques to boost productivity in an eco-friendly way in this region. 

This project has given prior importance to the Coastal area of Bangladesh. Based on projections, population in the coastal zone in 2015 is estimated at 41.1 million. The size of the labor force would be 22.l million. Per capita endowment of cultivable land would decline to 0.43 ha. About 1.8 million ha cultivable land is suitable for coconut growing which is greater than that of Thailand, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. So, this potential area should be brought under dwarf semi-dwarf/newly developed exotic dwarf hybrid coconut cultivation. About 50,000 coconut demonstrations would be established in selected coastal areas of the country.

Success of the Project

1. Establishment of New Horticulture center: Already 5 new horticulture centers have been established under this project. These are: Horticulture center, Gaibandha, Sirajganj, Badolgachi, Satkia and Bijoynagar, Brahmanbaria.

2. Vietnam dwarf Coconut: More than 7 lakh seedlings of two different dwarf coconuts have been imported. Another 6000 hybrid dwarf coconut seedlings also have been imported from India. Those varieties have been expanded and displayed throughout the country. 

• Now the dwarf coconut trees are producing flowers and fruits with full potential

• A garden has been established in Jahaijjarchor, Swarnodip army camp, Noakhali. Sorjan system has implemented for making that garden. The garden comprises of around 1500 coconut  trees.

• The officials from different horticulture centers and headquarters have been trained from India. They were specially trained in coconut hybridization. Now the procedure has been implemented and hybrid seeds and saplings production by hybridization are now going on in our country.

3. Arabian date palm (Arbikhejur) extension: 

• About 900 trees of 17 verities of Arabian date palms have been imported from United Arab Emirate for using as mother plants in different horticulture centers and research institutes. These are the saplings of tissue culture. 

•  More than 30 demonstrative gardens have been established in different horticulture centers and farmers` fields. Now the planted trees are blooming.

4. Palm tree extension and demonstration :

• Indian Palm tree (Taalchara) plantation with palm tree  seedlings has been done on 6 km  area in Swarnodip army camp, Noakhali. It is also done on the road side of Jamalpur high way (7 km long) and Sherpur district high way (5 km long) and Sunamgonj district high way (5km long) 

5. Popularization of Sarjon system: Dwarf and hybrid coconut trees have been planted in10 acres field of Horticulture center, Rahmatpur, Barisal. There also have been planted Arab date trees, Avocado, foreign gum less Jack fruits and mango trees.

6. Jackfruit Grafts Extension:

    Jackfruit saplings production has been adopted in different horticulture centers of the country. Jackfruit grafting is now more popular and it is very successful procedure for expansion of jackfruits.

• Jackfruit grafting process has been successfully going on in different Horticulture centers of Rahmatpur, Barisal, Kallanpur, Chapainawab­ganj and other centers.

• Gum less and Color-Jackfruits of export quality have been expanding day by day in our country and these are very popular to the customers now a days.  

7. Foreign Fruits: The project is playing a vital role for expanding foreign fruits in the country. These fruits are: Dragon fruit, Malta, Avocado, Rambutan, Persimon, Sapota, Thai Custard apple (Sorifa) etc.

8. Root Stock: Appropriate Root Stocks have been imported for the development of Malta, orange and lime fruits. 

9. Kensington Pride (KP) mango: A mango Varity named Kensington Pride has been imported from Australia. It is one of the most popular varieties in the world.  By this time more than 100 mango grafted saplings have been produced. In next few months, the quantity of this  KP variety  will be  more than 1000 and then simultaneously further extension in the whole country.

10. Amrito (catimon)

11. MD-2 Pineapple: New variety of pineapple has been in pated from phillipins. It is one of the popular varieties. It contains 4 times more Vitamin C competitive to local variety.

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