Arum cultivation brings fortune for many farmers in the district with its bumper production and high profit this season.
The good arum harvest is attributed to suitable soil, favourable weather and necessary help from the local agriculture offices.
Latiraj – an arum variety – might change the lot of farmers, plus their tendency to farm tobacco, which is less profitable than arum.
According to the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) in Lalmonirhat, 500 acres of land were brought under arum cultivation this year in five upazilas of the district, but only 12 acres were used for the vegetable cultivation.
The cultivation of Latiraj variety is gaining popularity among the farmers.
The government provides the farmers with training, agro-inputs and easy-term agriculture loans.
Lalmonirhat Sadar Upazila Agriculture Officer Mohammad Nuruzzaman said: “The DAE office arranged training programme and carried out campaign for using organic fertiliser before arum cultivation.”
Tobacco cultivation in the district might yield to that of arum within the next five-six years, said the official.
An arum grower Nurul Haque of Baninagar village in Kaliganj upazila said Latiraj variety of arum is cultivated in the first week of January and its harvesting starts in the middle of April.
“We get a good harvest of Latiraj spending only Tk200 on its cultivation,” he said, adding that a farmer gets 3-5 maunds of such vegetable from each decimal of land.
Shahjahan Miah in Karnopur village in Lalmonirhat Sadar upazila said farmers use only some organic fertiliser during arum cultivation and they do not need to use insecticides. Farmers face few problems in growing this vegetable. Cattle do not eat arum plants and labour is not required to look after it.
Bivu Chandro Sen, arum cultivator in Barobari village in the district said, “I have cultivated arum on four bighas of land spending Tk18,000 this year. I have already earned Tk30,000 in the last two weeks and hope I will earn profit at least Tk300,000 by December.”
At present 1Kg of Latiraj variety arum sells for Tk18-20 at the local market and the price is expected to double after two to three months. This vegetable is in high demand as it is tastier and more nourishing than all other vegetables.
Dr Ahsan Ali Babu of the Sadar upazila health and family planning department described arum as nourishing and tasty vegetable. This vegetable works as a remedy for different diseases, especially diabetics, he claimed.