RANGPUR: Banana farming continues boosting both in mainland and char areas bringing self-reliance to many people in Rangpur agriculture region during the last 12 years.
Deputy Detector of the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) at its regional office Agriculturist Md Moniruzzaman said farmers have cultivated bananas on 2,559 hectares of land in all five districts of the region during the current Rabi season, reports BSS.Farmers are enhancing cultivation of bananas as a cash crop every year to reap more profits after being inspired by the DAE and other agriculture related organisations.
“Braving the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, farmers are showing more interest in farming bananas and other fruits also to meet their own nutrition, public nourishment and enhance immunity against the deadly virus,” he said.
The field level DAE officials are extending assisting farmers, riverside and char people to expand cultivation of ‘Meher Sagar’, ‘Sobri’ and other varieties of banana on more lands both in mainland and char areas.
With the DAE assistance, many small and marginal farmers and landless char and riverside people have cultivated bananas in all upazilas of Rangpur, Gaibandha, Kurigram, Lalmonirhat and Nilphamari districts in the region this season.
In Nageshwari upazila of Kurigram alone, char and riverside people have cultivated bananas on 175 acres of char lands in Bamondanga, Berubari, Raiganj, Kochakata, Bolloverkhas, Kaliganj and Bhitorband unions this time.
Talking to the agency, farmer Rafikul Islam of Bamondanga union in the upazila said a group of char people led by him started cultivating banana on 25 bighas of char lands four years back.“Excluding farming costs, we are earning Taka eight lakh to ten lakh on an average annually by farming bananas on 25 bighas of char lands,” he said.
Farmer Yusuf Ali of the same area said, another group of char people led by him, are cultivating bananas for the last three years by planting over 70,000 banana saplings on 160 bighas of char lands.
Farmer Lokman Hossain of the area said char people are selling bananas on one side of char lands and cultivating banana afresh on the other side on vacant lands.
The process of formation and growth of new banana bunches continues all the time giving the gardens fresh looks.
“Like hundreds of farmers in the mainland, many char families have become dependent on cultivating bananas on sandy char lands to become self-reliant,” Hossain added.
Observing the success, many char people have started farming bananas with vegetables and other crops adopting intercropping and relay methods on char lands on commercial basis.
Senior Coordinator (Agriculture and Environment) of RDRS Bangladesh Agriculturist Mamunur Rashid said banana cultivation on mainland and char areas is largely contributing to socio-economic development of rural people.
“The DAE and some NGOs are assisting farmers in mainland and char people and providing latest technologies for expanded cultivation of bananas as a profitable cash crop on both mainland and char areas to improve their living standard,” he added.
Deputy Director of the DAE for Rangpur Agriculturist Dr Md Sarwarul Haque said cultivation of bananas along with vegetables in relay methods on mainland and char lands has become popular to change the fortune of many people in the region.