RANGPUR: Growers and Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) are expecting a bumper production of banana in Rangpur agriculture region this season.
Officials of the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) said banana cultivation continues boosting both on the mainland and char areas bringing self-reliance to hundreds of people in the region during the last ten years.“Braving the Covid-19 pandemic situation, farmers have cultivated bananas on 2,560 hectares of land in all five districts of the region this time,” Additional Director of the DAE at its regional office Agriculturist Bibhubhushan Roy said.
After getting repeated bumper output and more profits in recent years, farmers enhanced cultivation of banana as a cash crop and other fruits this season to meet their own nutrition and public nourishment amid the Covid-19 pandemic situation.
The DAE officials are extending assistance and providing technologies to farmers both in the mainland and riverine char areas to expand cultivation of ‘Sobri’, ‘Meher Sagar’ and other varieties of banana as well as other fruits.
“Hundreds of small and marginal farmers and landless char and riverside people have cultivated bananas in Rangpur, Lalmonirhat, Kurigram, Gaibandha and Nilphamari districts of the region and started harvesting of the fruit now,” Roy added.
Farmers, Mokhlesur Rahman, Aiyub Ali, Mofizar Rahman, Mohsin Ali and Ariful Haque of different villages in Sadar, Badarganj and Taraganj upazilas of Rangpur said they are harvesting banana and getting excellent price in local markets this season. Farmer Rafikul Islam of Bamondanga union in Nageswari upazila said banana cultivation on char land has become a profitable venture turning the sandy char areas.
A group of char people led by Rafikul Islam started cultivating banana on 25 bighas of char lands five 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 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 as the process of formation and growth of new banana bunches continues all the time.
Senior Coordinator (Agriculture and Environment) of RDRS Bangladesh Agriculturist Mamunur Rashid said banana cultivation on the mainland and riverine char areas is largely contributing to the development of rural people.
The DAE and a number of NGOs are assisting farmers in the mainland and char areas and providing latest technologies for expanding cultivation of banana as a profitable cash crop to improve their livelihoods and living standard.
“Cultivation of bananas alongside vegetables and other crops adopting intercropping and relay methods both on the mainland and char lands has become popular among farmers to change their fortune during the last 10 years,” Rashid added.