Lemon cultivation in the orchards and homesteads has already become profitable, bringing fortune to hundreds of farmers, commoners and poor women in recent years in the northern districts.
More than 2,000 farmers have achieved self-reliance through lemon farming in Rangpur region alone, changing their fate by selling their lemons at fair prices in a hassle-free manner.
According to officials and experts in the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) and NGOs, cultivation of lemons has been expanding every year, following repeated bumper harvests and lucrative market prices.
Khandker Md Mesbahul Islam, a horticulture specialist at the DAE, said most of the people have been farming lemons on their homesteads, though many farmers have also set up lemon orchards as hedgerows surrounding crop fields.
Talking to BSS, farmer Motiar Rahman from the village of Deodoba said he has planted over 3,000 lemon trees as hedgerows around his 1.5 acre litchi orchards, he earns Tk800,000 just from these lemons without having to use separate land for cultivation.
Farmers Shahadat Ali and Rahim Uddin, and local women Sohagi Khatun and Nabiron Bibi, of different villages in Rangpur, said they are cultivating lemons as hedgerows for their orchards and homesteads, earning excellent profits every year.
Quasem Ali from the village of Patrokhata Khondkerpara in Kurigram said he has been earning over Tk800,000 annually by selling his lemons grown on 12 decimals of his 48 decimals of croplands.
This season, Quasem Ali sold 22,000 lemons at Tk60,000 per day and has been selling at least 200,020 lemons annually, after distributing his produce among his relatives, neighbours and villagers.
Quasem said: “I mostly cultivate local, China and Duck Zamir varieties of lemons, consumption of the Duck Zamir variety lemon is very beneficial to those suffering from jaundice and coughs, it also increases milk production in mothers.”
Side by side, Quasem Ali cultivates mango, jackfruit, black berry, litchi, papaya and coconut, Baukul, ginger, turmeric, pineapple, betel leaf; and the medicinal plants Pathorkuchi, Horitoki, Ol-kochu, Koromcha, Bashak and Ghritokumari as relay crops.
He also cultivates various crops like chili, mustard, pulses, paddy, jute, potatoes, arum, ol-kochu and others in the rest of his adjoining land. He has adopted inter- cropping methods to earn another Tk800,000 annually.
Similarly, farmers Ayub Ali of Rangpur, JoynulAbedin of Lalmonirhat, Nabinur Rahman of Panchagarh, Abdul Haque, Aminur Rahman, KoohinurMian of Kurigram and many others, have achieved self-reliance through lemon cultivation.
Talking to BSS, Rangpur Regional Additional Director of the DAE Sikander Ali said lemon farming has become popular and profitable way of bringing self-reliance to hundreds of farmers and commoners, especially women, in the northern region.