RANGPUR- Highly profitable banana farming continues expanding in mainland and riverine char areas of Rangpur agriculture region bringing fortunes to many farmers by making them self-reliant.
Officials of the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) farmers have brought an all-time record land area of 3,167 hectares of land under banana cultivation during this Rabi season after getting repeated bumper production with lucrative prices in recent years.
Shah Alam said cultivation of bananas is expanding every year during both the Rabi and Kharif seasons round the year in the region in recent years.
"Farmers cultivated bananas on a total of 4,520 hectares of land, including on 2,756 hectares during the last Rabi season and 1,764 hectares during the Kharif-1 season during the last year," he said.
"During the previous year, farmers cultivated bananas on 4,209 hectares of land, including on 2,559 hectares during the Rabi and 1,650 hectares during the Kharif seasons in the region," Alam said.
Alongside attaining self-reliance and improving livelihoods through farming bananas despite the global crises caused by the Russia-Ukraine War, farmers are meeting their own nutrition and public nourishment.
"Farmers are showing more interest in farming bananas as a cash crop also to meet their own nutrition, public nourishment and enhance immunity against the deadly Covid-19 virus," he said.
With the DAE assistance, many small and marginal farmers and landless char and riverside people have cultivated bananas in all 58 upazilas of Rangpur, Gaibandha, Kurigram, Lalmonirhat and Nilphamari districts in the region.
Talking to BSS, farmers Mofizar Rahman of Taraganj upazila and Nur Mohammad of Badarganj upazila in Rangpur and Jamal Uddin of Sadar upazila in Lalmonirhat said they have cultivated banana on more land areas both in the mainland and char areas.
Farmers Dulal Hossain and Faruk Ahmed of Nageswari upazila in Kurigram said char people are selling bananas on one side and cultivating the crop afresh on the other side on vacant char lands round the year.
The process of cultivation, formation of bananas and growth of new banana bunches and harvesting of the cash crop continue all the time giving the gardens fresh looks round the year.
"Like hundreds of farmers in the mainland, many char families have become dependent on cultivating bananas on sandy char lands to become self-reliant," said farmer Akmal Hossain of Kaliganj upazila in Lalmonirhat.
Deputy Director of the DAE for Rangpur Md. Obaidur Rahman Mandal said cultivation of bananas along with vegetables in relay methods on a commercial basis has become popular in recent years to change the fortune of many people.