Most of the farmers in char (riverbed) areas here are now making profit by dint of their bumper production of winter vegetables including some high valued crops.
In order to overcome their financial insolvency, the farmers were seen tilting towards large-scale commercial vegetable farming in vast char areas in Rajshahi and Chapainawabganj districts creating a silent revolution in this field.
While visiting some of the remotest and hard-to-reach areas, this reporter witnessed success of many of the farmers cultivating cauliflower, cabbage, potato, brinjal, bottle gourd, tomato and onion.
Nazib Uddin, a farmer of Char Mazar diar, said that he has cultivated pea on 10-bigha land in Padma char. He said after the water receded, he cleaned weeds and made the land suitable for cultivation. He had spent Taka 75,000 lakh for the cultivation and hoped that he would make profit after selling the products. He says the yield of vegetables is good this year and there is a lot of income by selling vegetables.
Swapan Ali, 45, another farmer of the same village, has become an icon of vegetable cultivation in his locality. His annual earning is around Tk three to four lakh on an average at present.
“I have cultivated wheat on five bigha of land. I am very much hopeful of bumper yield in the upcoming harvesting season,” said Mozahar Hossain, a farmer of Bazubagha Natunpara village under Bagha Upazila. In addition to homestead gardening, the farmers cultivated vegetables on more lands this year than the previous years as climatic condition remains favourable.
After meeting the local demands the surplus vegetables are being supplied to different parts of the country including Dhaka benefiting the consumers in general. ‘I have cultivated cauliflower and cabbage on an acre of land by spending Tk 30,000. I am very much happy with the sale-proceeds valued at around Tk 80,000 during the current harvesting season,’ said Muslem Uddin, a farmer of the same village. Some other farmers including Ajer Ali, Mohsin Ali and Abdul Mannan of Amadpur village also revealed the similar success with smiling faces.
Chars emerging in the rivers of Padma and Mohananda are bringing fortune to many farmers in Paba, Godagari and Bagha upazilas of Rajshahi and Sadar and Shibganj upazilas of Chapainawabganj districts during the last few years. Hundreds of farmers in the two districts are now very happy as deposits of alluvial silt in the char areas have given them an opportunity to cultivate various crops and vegetables in their fields, said Shamsul Wadud, additional director of department of agriculture extension.
Both acreage and production of various types of vegetables including cauliflower, cabbage, bitter gourd, pointed gourd, cucumber and ladies finger were increased significantly in the riverbed area during the last couple of years benefitting the consumers in general. All varieties of winter vegetables have now appeared in abundance in the local markets and the yield rates achieved so far are found to be higher than that of the target due to early farming of the vegetables.
Farmers are being habituated with homestead gardening through establishing projection plot of improved technologies adjacent to the localities for enhancing vegetable output. Modern technologies are being transferred to the growers level through farmers training, projection plot, field day and different types of campaign so that the farmers could make their cultivation more effective and profitable.
Agriculturist Wadud says emphasis is being given to increasing production of high yielding seeds and saplings through farmers’ level extension and application of the high yielding varieties. Principal Scientific Officer of Regional Wheat and Maize Research Institute Dr Ilias Hossain said many farmers were seen showing success in wheat and maize farming in the charlands after the best uses of the modern technologies.