The fact that farmers at a corner of the country’s south-western coastal belt are producing a popular variety of vegetable in just a few hectares of land is not in itself a significant development because people in other areas are also doing the same and sometimes with more successes. Yet it deserves to be noted because of a different dimension attached to it. Being in close proximity to the Bay of Bengal, the region is regularly washed by salty water. Due to high percentage of salt in the soil, almost no crop could be produced in the land until recently. This is indeed a very good piece of news for the farmers in the coastal areas as well as those living in the islands.
The age old ordeal of the people there seems to be coming to an end, thanks to the development of stress-tolerant crop varieties by scientists. The development of two types of stress-tolerant and high yielding pointed gourd came as a blessing for the farmers of this and other parts of the coastal belt.Cultivation of these new strains of gourd has proved to be successful and as such is showing the path for others. This crop has added a new dimension to our agriculture and shows the high potential of bringing salty soil under extensive cultivation.
It may be mentioned that agriculture in Bangladesh has been a success story. Different regions of the country are characterised by distinct climatic conditions. Keeping this in mind, our agricultural scientists have developed a host of high yielding and drought, flood and salinity tolerant crop strains.
However, this is just the beginning of a long journey in the agriculture sector. Bangladesh has attained significant successes in the production rice, fish and vegetables but is far behind in producing milk, meat, fruits and spices, and oil seeds. Flowers are also being cultivated with success, but are inadequate to meet domestic needs.
Our scientists have to do a lot more work in this regard. And given the past success story of our agriculture, we strongly believe they can take the country’s agriculture to new heights.