Monday, 18 October, 2021
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Summer Tomato – Magic Crop in Saline Area

M. Arifur Rahman

Bangladesh is mainly an agricultural country where agriculture contributes 14.23% to the GDP and arable land (% of land area) is 59.71 % (World Bank, 2018). Immediately after independence in 1971, Bangladesh had cultivable land of 8,837,000 hectares. Over a period of more than 4 decades this area has reduced to 7,669,000 hectares. On the other hand, population has increased from 75 million to 160 million. But the unbelievable reality is that this decreased land is feeding more than double population. This near miracle has been possible due to the hard-working farmers of Bangladesh and the incessant efforts of its agricultural scientists by developing lot of high yielding varieties and improved production technologies of different crops. Those high yielding varieties and improved technologies are being utilized by the farmers with the help of extension officers and bringing financial benefit to farmers and helping them improve their livelihood.

Among the developed varieties of Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI), hybrid summer tomato variety adoption has created a huge impact due to its very high economic returns. In this region the technology demonstration started in 1995 by Dr. Nazirul Islam (when Dr. Nazir was in RARS, Jessore), DG with BARI developed open pollinated (OP) variety which was low yielder. The profitable technology "summer tomato" was not getting momentum amongst the Bangladeshi farmers due to lack of high yielding variety, motivation, proper input support etc. Dr. Shahabuddin Ahmad, a vegetable breeder and his team of Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) has developed high yielding hybrid summer tomato variety for the first time in Bangladesh namely BARI hybrid tomato 3, 4 and 8 and thereafter it got momentum from 2003 and expanded in many districts across the country.

At present, Dr. Kamaruzzaman, Dr. Harun, Dr. Faruk and many other dedicated agriculturists are doing hard work for dissemination as well boost up the summer tomato production technology as handy and profitable in field level in Southern part of Bangladesh specially in saline area like Satkhira. As a result, the average yield of BARI hybrid tomato is 50.41 t/ha and gross return is 1,542,300 tk/ha. On the average benefit cost ratio (BCR) is 2.64 on full cost basis and 3.04 on cash cost ratio. I am overwhelmed to see the BCR and wave of white polythene (which looks like waves of sea) in summer tomato production field which also introduced by scientist of BARI.

 Now it is time to develop some packages for managing insect pest of summer tomato as eco-friendly, economic and sustainable way to enhance the production greatly as well Government may take initiative to stop the import of tomato from neighbour country. Farmers are feeling honoured to getting farmers friendly Honbl'e Agricultural Minister Agriculturist Dr. M. Abdur Razzak, MP by his constructive guidance, inspiration and praise worthy policies. As a Honbl'e minister has visited 2 times within 2 years to boost up farmers spirit and declared on 12 September 2021 at farmer’s field of Kolaroa Upazila, Sathkira that, He'll take necessary steps to stop the import of tomato from other county. It was a happy moments for the farmers and associated people. We feel honoured to be a team member of Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) under his dynamic leadership.

 

The writer is an Agriculturist and Senior Insect Control Officer (Attached from Ministry of Agriculture), Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC)