Chemical-free vegetables prove a boon for Kalapara farmers
Time：2021-02-08 08:37:33 Source： Author：
There once was a time when only one crop was produced across 15 villages in Nilganj union of Patuakhali's Kalapara upazila due to the high salinity of the soil.
After people were done with harvests, they earned their keep by either working as fishmongers or day labourers.
Now though, there is year-round cultivation of various types of chemical-free vegetables in the area.
Local vegetable growers sell their vegetables in Pakhimara bazar. Later, these vegetables are transported from here to the upazila town, district headquarters, divisions, and even the capital.
A tributary or canal of the Andharamanik river flows through Nilganj. It is known as "Pakhimara Khal" in Pakhimara area and "Kumirmara Khal" in Kumiramara area. Due to the salinity of this canal, once only one crop used to grow in Nilganj.
In 2005, local farmers united to conserve fresh water in the canal to cultivate crops year round.
They built four temporary dams on the canal and as a result of this effort, they were able to conserve fresh water and the farmers of 15 villages of the union started getting huge success in vegetable cultivation along with aman.
Shafiuddin started cultivating year-round vegetables in Nilganj a few years ago. Due to the success of his vegetable cultivation, 15 villages of the entire union were filled with greenery. Here vegetables are grown without the use of harmful pesticides and chemicals.
Shafiuddin, once a sharecropper, has become the owner of 2.66 acres of land by cultivating vegetables. He has divided his land among his seven sons who are now self-sufficient in vegetable cultivation.
Although vegetable cultivation in Nilganj started in the traditional way, now the farmers are cultivating with new technology. It can be seen on the ground that many farmers have started cultivating in their own way in the form of greenhouse methods.
Bombay pepper, tomato, green chilli, carrot, red spinach, spinach and coriander have been planted there, according to Zakir Hossain, a vegetable grower of Kumirmara village who used to work as a construction worker in Dhaka.
After being injured in a road accident, he returned home and after seeing the success of the farmers in cultivating vegetables, he started cultivating vegetables himself. He is cultivating various vegetables throughout the year.
Gazi Hemayet Uddin, a farmer of the same village, studied at Patuakhali Government College.
He also grows vegetables on his father's land all year round. He cultivates various types of vegetables including coriander, red spinach, radish, cauliflower, sweet potato and watermelon.
His two brothers, Mahfuz Gazi and Abdullah, also works in the vegetable fields whenever their studies allows.
"We earn around Tk 5-6 lakh a year by cultivating vegetables and we are doing very well," said Hemayet.
To market the agricultural products, the farmers opened an agricultural marketing centre at Pakhimara Bazar on their own.
It is called a "Collection Point". From there, wholesalers take the produce to different upazilas and districts of the country including the capital, said Hemayet.
Upazila Agriculture Officer Abdul Mannan said about 10,275 metric tonnes of vegetables were being produced here every year, with an economic value of Tk 15.42 crore.