While talking to this correspondent, Shakil said he decided to cultivate his father’s land, instead of sitting idle, when his university closed during the pandemic lockdown
Shakil Ahmed, a student of Bangladesh Agricultural University (BAU), has achieved great success in squash cultivation, a foreign variety of winter vegetable, in Delduar upazila of Tangail.
While talking to this correspondent, he says instead of sitting idle when his university had closed during the pandemic lockdown, he decided to cultivate his father’s land. He is now delighted to say that his experimental cultivation of squash has been a success.
Shakil is the son of Abdul Karim of Gomjani village in Atia union of Delduar upazila. Seeing his success in the field-level, the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) is considering expanding squash cultivation in the region.
Last year, Shakil Ahmed completed his Bachelor of Science (BSc) program in Agriculture from Noakhali Science and Technology University (NSTU). He is currently pursuing a Masters’ degree from Bangladesh Agricultural University (BAU).
Speaking to Dhaka Tribune, Shakil said that he was passing idle days after coming home during the pandemic lockdown. “It is then that I expressed interest in cultivating my father's land. By learning about it on the internet, I took an initiative to cultivate squash, a foreign variety of winter vegetables.
“Being a student of the agriculture department, I had some ideas about crop cultivation beforehand. So, on an experimental-basis I planted squash on 40% of my father's land. I also learned about the techniques for safe crop cultivation from the internet. Besides, whenever I faced any problems in squash cultivation, I was able to take help from the DAE.
“I have spent Tk32,000 on squash cultivation, and so far, I have sold crops worth Tk85,000. I hope it will sell for around Tk1 lakh in total.”
Between October 15 and November 15 is the optimal time for squash cultivation. Each plant flowers in 30-35 days and crops start appearing in 41-45 days.
Shakil's father Abdul Karim is delighted with his son's success. “I will give my son more land to cultivate in the future,” he said.
As per Shakil’s advice, his cousin also cultivated squash and achieved good yield. Learning of the success of squash cultivation in the region, many farmers are also expressing their interest in squash cultivation.
Speaking on the matter, Delduar Upazila Agriculture Officer Shoaib Mahmud said: “Squash has been cultivated on one hectare of land in Delduar upazila this season. The upazila agriculture office is providing all kinds of assistance to squash farmers. Farmers will benefit if squash cultivation becomes widespread in the whole district.”