RANGPUR: Expanded cultivation of vegetables has become a blessing for farmers improving their fortune and rural economy despite the corona pandemic in Rangpur agriculture region.
Officials of the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) said many farmers and commoners have achieved self-reliance through cultivation of vegetables on farmlands and homesteads during both the Rabi and Kharif-1 seasons during the last 12 years.
“Apart from huge government assistance and easy-term agri-loans, some NGOs are providing quality seeds, inputs and latest technologies to farmers to boost vegetable production round the year in the region,” he said.
After getting repeated bumper output with excellent market prices every year during the last 12 years, farmers are bringing more lands under vegetable farming both on the mainland and char areas since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in the region. During the just-ended Rabi season, farmers produced 9.30 lakh tonnes of vegetables from 39,895 hectares of land against the production of 9.06 lakh tonnes during the previous Rabi season in the region.
“Similarly, farmers have cultivated summer vegetables on 26,365 hectares of land, an 19.68 percent higher than the fixed farming target on 22,030 hectares to produce 4.07 lakh tonnes during this Kharif-1 season in the region,” Ray said.
Till Sunday, farmers harvested their cultivated summer vegetables on 3,000 hectares of land and produced 49,192 tonnes of vegetables on an average yield rate of 16.40 tonnes per hectare of land.
“If the climate conditions remain favourable, a super bumper production of over 4.32 lakh tonnes of summer vegetables is likely during this Kharif-1 season in all five districts of the region,” Ray added. Senior Coordinator (Agriculture and Environment) of RDRS Bangladesh Agriculturist Mamunur Rashid said summer vegetables have already appeared in plenty in local markets with excellent prices making farmers happy even amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Getting lucrative prices during the Covid-19 pandemic, farmers are expanding cultivation of vegetables on farmlands and homesteads to reap more profits alongside meeting nourishment,” said farmer Ariful Haque of village Najirdigar in Rangpur Sadar. Vegetables’ trader Hafizur Rahman at Rangpur City Bazar said farmers are currently selling different varieties of summer vegetables at rates between Taka 20 and Taka 45 per kg on an average to the middlemen from their croplands in rural areas.
“However, the retail prices are higher by Taka 10 to Taka 15 per kg in local markets as some vegetables are being perished during transportation and marketing processes under the pandemic situation,” Rahman added.
President of Rangpur Chamber of Commerce and Industry Mostafa Sohrab Chowdhury Titu said the agriculture sector has factually kept the wheels of rural economy moving forward, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic situation in Rangpur region.
“Setting up of agro-based industries has become a need of the time to process produced vegetables and enhance export for benefiting growers and earning foreign exchange to further strengthen the national economy,” he added.