It is easy to cultivate and requires limited resources and time, which makes cultivating squash very profitable
Squash cultivation is gradually gaining popularity in various parts of Bangladesh, and Natore is no different.
is easy to cultivate and requires limited resources and time, which makes cultivating squash very profitable.
Jamal Uddin, deputy assistant agriculture officer of Chhatnir-Panditgram block, said squash is similar to gourd and can be of various shapes. It can be used in salads and vegetable curries and it is high in vitamins A, B, and C and various mineral salts. No pesticides are used in its cultivation making it safe to eat.
Natore Department of Agriculture Extension Deputy Director Subrata Kumar said: "Squash is more popular outside the upazila, compared to the local markets. We are guiding the farmers so that they can make profits by supplying squash to other districts."
Upazila Agriculture Officer Mehedul said last year squash was cultivated on an area of four Bigha, and this year the plant is being cultivated on seven bigha (1 Bigha = 33 Decimal).
He also said that instead of pesticides, pheromone traps were used, which use chemicals called pheromones to lure insects. Also, fungal attacks can easily be tackled using fungal sprays.
“10-12 tons of squash can be yielded per bigha,” he added.
Local farmer Rajib Hossain from Diarpara village said that, following the union agriculture officer's advice, he cultivated squash on 1 bigha and 5 Katha (1 Katha = 720 Sq Feet) of his land.
He sowed the seeds during October-November in coconut husks, and after 15-20 days, he transferred 7,000 seedlings to the land using the mulching technique.
Rajib created the mulch bed by mixing 20 kilograms of chemical fertilizer and 60 maunds of cow-dung fertilizer with soil.
He then placed polythene on the bed, and made holes with two feet intervals for planting the seedlings. When the seedlings became 40-45 days old, he started collecting the squashes every couple of days.
Each plant reaps 10kg of squash on average. Though the market price was Tk60-65 per kg in the beginning, now it is Tk30-35 per kg.
Still, a profit of Tk2 lakh can be earned in three months, Rajib said.
Farmer Monir said he cultivated squash on 2 bighas of land, and has sold produce worth Tk10,000-15,000 already. He will be able to sell squash another 30-35 times, which will bring about a profit of approximately Tk4 lakh.
Considering its profitable nature, farmers are focusing more on cultivating squash.