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Dhaka Tribune

Pumpkin farming puts smile on farmers’ faces

Update : 29 Apr 2013, 06:41 AM

Peasants of Sadar, Aditmari, Kaliganj and Hatibandha upazilas in Lalmonirhat were all smiles after a bumper pumpkin output this year, one produced by seeds and fertilisers that were bought at a fair price. Suitable weather was also instrumental in the yield.

During a visit to char villages, the Dhaka Tribune found all the farmers enthusiastic and busy in the harvesting the crop from the fields. They were hopeful about making a good profit.

According to the Department of Agricultural Extension in Lalmonirhat, a total 4,300 bighas of abandoned sandy land of Rajpur, Tazpur, Khuniya Gachh, Kalmati, Milon Bazar villages under Sadar upazila, Mohiskhocha, Gobordhan char under Aditmari upazila, Shoil Mari, Votmari char under Kaligonj upazila and Votmari, Dawabari, Goddimari, Sindurna and Sainyazan char under Hatibandha upazila, have been brought under the cultivation this year.

About 2,000 char peasants were engaged in pumpkin cultivation this year. Bumper yield of the vegetable and high profit from it have encouraged many farmers.

Pumpkin cultivator Mohor Ali, 55, of Rajpur char village in Lalmonirhat sadar upazila, said that only Tk1,200-1,500 is needed to cultivate one bigha of land (one bigha is equal 27 decimal land) and a farmer can harvest 500-600 pieces of pumpkin from one bigha of land. Each pumkin is sold for Tk14-18 at local markets, making it a profitable enterprise, and fuelling the farmers’ passion for cultivating the crop.

 “I started cultivating pumpkin on one bigha of sandy land in 2009. That year I earned Tk18,000. I cultivated pumpkin on three bigha of sandy land this year. I have already harvested pumpkin from my three bighas of land and hoping to earn over Tk80,000 selling pumpkin,” said Abdar Ali, of Kalmatii Char.

Another farmer, Haider, Ali said: “Earlier I had been facing monga (famine-like situation) but cultivation of pumpkin on two bighas of land since 2009 brought solvency for me.

“I have already harvetsed pumpkin on my two bighas of land and I sold fifty percent of the vegetable at Tk 26,000 and hoping I will earn over Tk 26,000 selling rest pumpkin within a short time.”

Pumpkin cultivator Moshiur Rahman, 48, at char Gobordhon village of Aditmari upazila said that pumkin cultivation takes a short time. It starts in the first week of January and harvest begins in the middle of March to early April.

“We do not need huge capital to cultivate pumpkin on sandy land. Little investment brings high profit. We need only seeds, some compost fertiliser and regular care”, he said.

Pumpkin cultivator Amena Begum, 48, at char Khuniyagachh said: “I cultivated pumpkin on one bigha of sandy land at Khuniyagachh char. I have sold my harvesting pumkin at Tk 25,000 in the field but my total expenditure was Tk 1,500 this year.

“Only need hard labour and regular taking care for cultivating pumpkin on sandy land. We the char people, so we are habited to hard labour,” she added..

Pumpkin cultivator Alal Hossain, 50, at same village told the Dhaka Tribune that pumpkin growers do not face market problem for selling pumpkin as traders from different parts of the country, including the capital, come to char areas in Lalmonirhat and purchase pumpkins from the growers at fair prices.

“Many purchasers pay in advance to buy pumpkins in the Tessta River basin char areas, “ he added.

The Deputy Director DAE Abdul Mazid said all the pumpkin cultivators at different char villages got surprisingly good output this year due to favourable weather and timely care.

“Pumpkin cultivation on sandy land in char areas can play vital role in mitigating monga in Teesta river basin,” he added.

 The peasants of Teesta river basin char areas urged the government to provide necessary support, including providing seeds, fertilizers and insecticides, for cultivating pumpkins to stave off monga from the district.

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