If farmers across the country, including Tangail, take up coffee cultivation, dependence on foreign coffee will be reduced, says local agriculture officer
It is a matter of great pride that coffee, a foreign beverage, which needed to be imported in Bangladesh from countries like Brazil and Vietnam, is now cultivated locally and has most recently been introduced in Tangail.
Sanwar Hossain, a young farmer from Mahishmara village in Madhupur hill region, first introduced coffee to the district. His lush green coffee garden attracts many visitors who come to admire a foreign plant never before seen in the locality.
The plants this year are bustling with green and ripe red berries which will soon mature and turn dark—the colour indicating the time for them to be plucked and dried so that the seeds can be collected.
Sanwar’s initiative has opened up the possibility of a revolution in coffee cultivation in the region.
According to the Department of Agricultural Extension, the soil in the region is comparatively less drought-prone and so there is bright potential for coffee cultivation, especially in the hilly region of Madhupur and Sakhipur in the district.
Agriculture experts believe there is a bright prospect for coffee cultivation now and through which local demand can be met while also reducing dependence on import.
After obtaining his Bachelor in Arts degree in 1992, Sanwar Hossain taught English at a high school in Sylhet for four years.
When he left teaching, he returned to Madhupur to work on his father's land where also achieved success. At least 10 different types of fruits are found in his garden. He has now become a role model for aspiring farmers.
Sanwar Hossain said that he first planted coffee out of his love for the beverage. He bought 200 seedlings from Raikhali Agricultural Research Centre in Bandarban in 2017.
“Last year, some of my plants started bearing fruit and finally this year I am seeing overwhelming results,” said a delighted Sanwar.
Speaking of last year’s experience, Sanwar says even if there is about 2kg of fruit per plant, about 250 grams of coffee can be obtained from the dried berries.
However, he does not have the equipment to process coffee and seeks government assistance in this regard.
“I have achieved a good yield in coffee cultivation without many complications. The local agriculture office has been supportive throughout the process. Now I am able to grow coffee seedlings within six months,” said Sanwar.
During a visit to Sanwar’s coffee garden, this correspondent saw he currently has 450 healthy coffee plants. Every branch of these plants were seen bustling with green and ripe red fruits.
Besides, he has also planted 200 coffee seedlings on another piece of land leased from another farmer.
Sanwar’s coffee garden gets quite a few visitors looking to lay their eyes on coffee plants for the first time. These local visitors say Sanwar Hossain is a role model in the locality in safe fruit production. Many farmers are now taking Sanwar Hossain’s advice on starting coffee cultivation on their land.
Workers at the coffee garden said the garden was full of small round green berries that turn red when ripe and later turn dark when they mature.
Coffee beans can be collected after drying and removal of the husk. Later, the beans are ground.
Many jobs have been created through this innovative enterprise and, as a result, the workers are able to sustain their families with the salaries they get from working in the coffee garden.
Ahsanul Bashar, deputy director of the Agriculture Extension Department, told Dhaka Tribune that the soil and climate in the hilly regions of Madhupur and Sakhipur upazila of Tangail were suitable for coffee cultivation. “If farmers are provided with technical assistance, there is a huge potential for coffee cultivation here.”
Hailing Sanwar Hossain for introducing coffee cultivation in Madhupur, he said that Sanwar had obtained a good coffee yield following the agriculture department’s advice after he decided to take up the initiative.
“If farmers across the country, including Tangail, become interested in coffee cultivation, the dependence on foreign coffee will be reduced.”