This year, the region fell short of achieving its target of planting trees on over 37,000 hectares of land in Barishal
Coastal farmers of the southern region of Bangladesh are expecting bumper watermelon yield this year, with which they hope will cover the losses made last year due to the pandemic.
Shamim Hawladar, a farmer from Gopalpur village hopes to make a profit of Tk5 lakh this season if yields are good. He has planted watermelon on 1.5 acres of land after spending Tk7 lakh.
Shamim has already sold watermelons weighing 7-8kg each at Tk15 per kg, and 6-7kg watermelons at Tk7 per kg in the wholesale market.
Both the yield and prices were good and that this had benefited more than a thousand farmers of the upazila this time around, said Abdur Rahman, a farmer from the same village.
The yield has been good this season as rain and storms were limited, according to Tuhin Talukder of Veduria union in Char Fasson upazila.
He has cultivated watermelon on 1.60 acres of land. Claiming to have at least 15,000-16,000 watermelons, he is hoping to earn Tk5 lakh from sales.
This year, the region fell short of achieving its target of planting trees on over 37,000 hectares of land in Barishal, according to the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE).
But DAE officials are hoping that this year’s yield will exceed last year’s record.
Last year, watermelon was planted on about 25,000 hectares of land, which yielded 11 lakh tonnes of the fruit.
About 65% of the country's watermelon is cultivated in Barishal as the soil of the southern region is favourable for the fruit, according to the officials.
Last year, about 16 lakh tonnes of watermelon was produced on 38,824 hectares of land all over the country, they added.
Watermelon is usually cultivated on soil with a pH balance of 5.5 to 7.0, thus making the soil in coastal Barishal very suitable for the fruit, said Md Aftabuddin, additional director of DAE, Barishal region.
Some 100,000 farmers have been involved in watermelon cultivation this season, he added.
Although the farmers are happy with current prices, they are also anxious about the sudden tidal surge near the watermelon fields.
Rahman Mia, watermelon farmer of Patuakhali region, said that due to the full moon, the tide is expected to rise and some of the fields have already flooded.
This may cause damage to some of the crops, he said.
Ganesh Dutta, a watermelon wholesaler in Barishal city, said this time they are getting good prices due to the larger size of the watermelons.
Watermelon cultivation has become a blessing for us during the pandemic, Ganesh added.