Cardamom cultivation can help change the lives of the farmers
Cardamom is one of the spices Bangladesh have to import regularly. A nursery owner in Kurigram’s Rowmari Upazila, claiming to be the first Bangladeshi farmer to have successfully cultivated cardamom, says it is possible to be self-sufficient in the spice’s production with the right patronage.
The success of 38-year-old has inspired other farmers and locals to take up cardamom cultivation. Rejaul’s ‘Swapno Joy Nursery’ is now leading the cardamom revolution in the district.
“I earn about Tk20,000 per month selling cardamom saplings,” he told the Dhaka Tribune. “The demand for the saplings is growing day by day. I am getting orders from around the country.”
He sells each sapling for between Tk1,200 and Tk1,500. He produces large cardamom and sells the spice in the local market after meeting his family’s demand.
Rejaul had a chance encounter with Sri Lankan farmer Abdur Rahman at the 2007 BiswaIjtema. Rahman, who had success in cultivating cardamom, gifted his Bangladeshi friend two saplings the next year.
“It all started with those two saplings. Now, I have more than 2,000 cardamom saplings,”Rejaul said.
It takes about two to three years for the plant to bear fruit. More than a thousand saplings can be produced from 10 to 15 saplings on a one decimal plot, Rejaul said, adding that cardamom grows best on loam soil and the red hilly soil.
Kurigram Department of Agriculture Extension Deputy Director Dr. Md Mostafizur Rahman Prodhan said he had visited Rejaul’s cardamom project. “He has been successful in producing the spice. It is possible to spread the project throughout Bangladesh,” he said. “We will provide him all sorts of assistance.”
Rowmari Upazila Nirbahi Officer Dipankar Roy echoed Prodhan. “We will give Rejaul all the assistance to help him expand the cultivation of spices,” Roy said.
Rejaul said, he lacked land and patronage. “I will be able to start a revolution in cardamom cultivation if I get government support and land,” he added.