This highly lucrative business has earned farmers hundreds of thousands over the years
Vegetable seedling farmers in Shibpur upazila of Narsingdi have been successfully meeting local demand for over two decades now, and also tending to the needs of farmers from other districts.
Farmers from Kundarpara of Baghab union have become widely known for producing and selling quality winter vegetable seedlings.
Farmers here first started growing seedlings for their own needs two decades ago. Before then, local farmers would cultivate vegetables, procuring seedlings from adjacent Munshiganj.
Now, there are 30 bighas of seedling nurseries in the upazila, with a market value of Tk1.5 crore. This highly lucrative business has earned farmers hundreds of thousands over the years.
Seedling farmers begin preparing seed beds for cauliflower, eggplant, chilli and tomato seeds in the Bengali month of Ashar (June- July).
Farmers “germinate” and tend to young plants for one month before they are ready for sale.
According to seedling farmers, each cauliflower seedling goes for around Tk1 and a cabbage seedling for 70-80 paisa, depending on its quality.
Farmers from Narsingdi and other districts, including Comilla, Feni, Chandpur, Kishoreganj, Brahmanbaria, Sunamganj, Habiganj, Moulvibazar, Sylhet, Netrokona, Gazipur and Tangail, come here to buy vegetable seedlings.
Distant buyers say they are satisfied with the good yield from quality seedlings grown here, so they don’t have to go farther afield for their seedlings.
On a visit to the vegetable seedling nurseries, this correspondent found seed beds spread across vast tracts of land alongside the Dhaka-Sylhet Highway adjacent to the Kunderpara bus stand in Shibpur upazila.
People from various districts were coming in to buy saplings and Farmers were picking seedlings for sale, while others were busy clearing weeds.
Shawkat Ali, one of the nursery owners, said: “I have been in this business for the last 14 years. I am now able to turn a profit of Tk1-2 lakh every year from my seedling nursery on 1.5 bigha.
“Around 150 farmers work on seedling nurseries spread across 30 bighas of land here in the upazila which rake in a sale of around Tk1.5 crore yearly.”
Fazlul Haque, another seedling farmer from Kundarpara, said: “I used to grow vegetables with saplings from Munshiganj. But now I grow around 300,000 cauliflower seedlings on one bigha which costs at least Tk1 lakh. This venture brings me a net profit of around Tk2 lakh.”
Shibpur Upazila Agriculture Officer, Mohammad Bin Sadeq, said: “Vegetable nurseries are lucrative business ventures. We communicate with these farmers and introduce them to newer technologies, advising them on the process of maintaining quality seedlings.”