Chemical-free farming of vegetables is gaining popularity and radish is bringing high profit to the growers in Lalmonirhat while cultivating winter vegetables has become a boon for the growers in Dinajpur.
Farmer Atul Chandra Roy, 32, of Dakkhin Durakuti village in Mogholhat union under Lalmonirhat Sadar upazila has set an example by farming chemical-free bottle gourd for the last few years.
Atul said he uses organic fertiliser and vermicompost instead of chemical fertiliser, and neem leaf instead of pesticide, adding that they get 20 percent less production but earn 40 to 50 percent more profit from selling chemical-free vegetables.
Last year, Atul earned Tk 1.42 lakh from selling chemical-free bottle gourd from three bighas of land, spending Tk 70,000. He has cultivated the vegetable on five bighas spending Tk 1.2 lakh this year, and earned Tk 78,000 till Sunday.
“Many local farmers are learning how to grow chemical-free bottle gourd from me,” he added.
Hashem Ali, 55, a schoolteacher, said he buys chemical-free vegetables at high price from the field instead of purchasing vegetables at low price from the market.
Nazrul Islam, 45, a vegetable trader at Durakuti Bazar, said bottle gourd costs Tk 12 to Tk 15 per piece while chemical-free bottle gourd costs Tk 20 to Tk 25 per piece.
District Marketing Officer Abdur Rahim said chemical-free bottle gourd and other vegetables are sold at high rates due to high demand.
Lalmonirhat Sadar upazila Agriculture Officer Enamul Haque said the number of farmers growing chemical-free bottle gourd is low, but will increase as they start earning high profit.
Farmers in the district are very happy at getting good profit this year as middlemen are purchasing the produce at high rate.
Middlemen are also earning good profit from selling radish in the wholesale markets in different districts. Around 45 to 50 trucks with 10 to 12 tonnes of radish on each truck go to different parts of the country every day, middlemen said.
Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) officials said radish was cultivated on 3,500 acres of land in different villages this year, while it was 5,000 acres last year.
Deputy Director of DAE in Lalmonirhat Bidubhuson Roy said farmers can save production cost by not using chemical fertilisers and pesticides in their vegetable fields.
In Dinajpur, winter vegetable farming is a boon for the farmers in Chirirbandar upazila as they are getting good profit for their produce compared to other seasonal crops, reports our correspondent.
Rafiqul Islam of Ishabpur village said he cultivated coriander leaf on one decimal of land and red spinach on one and a half decimals, and sold the coriander leaf for Tk 200 per kg.
Firoz Shah of Ranirbandar area said he is growing bottle gourd on his one bigha of land this year instead of paddy, and has already sold nearly 200 of them.
Md Mukul Mia of Satnala village said he incurred losses from paddy farming for the last two seasons, so he cultivated various vegetables on his one acre of land this year. “I have got back what I spent for preparing the land by selling half of my produce,” he added.
Wholesaler Zakir Hossain of Ranirbandar village said 15 to 20 trucks with different vegetables leave for other districts every day.
Chirirbandar Upazila Agriculture Officer Mahmudul Hasan said the land in the upazila is favourable for farming winter vegetables.