RAJSHAHI: Farmers of Barind tract have found the path of becoming financially solvent through tomato farming as it has already delighted many of them, for the last couple of years.
In addition to the professional farmers, particularly the educated and semi-educated unemployed ones, is seen humming towards the cash crop farming for mitigating their unemployment curse.
Kamal is also highly hopeful about selling his crop worth at around Taka 42 lakh more because the plants are growing well.
Market price of the early harvested tomato is always lucrative but on the contrary the late ones frustrated the growers badly. “Now, we are catching the high price,” said Kamal Hossain. Tomato is being sold at Taka 55 to 60 per kilogram in wholesale markets, while Taka 120 to 130 in retail market at present.
Platform-cultivated tomato has a demand here as it becomes matured on plants and there is no need of using any chemical for ripening, he said.
In the current season, the cash crop has brought smiles on the face of the farmers as they are getting expected yield and market price since the very beginning of the harvesting period.
Jamilur Rahman, a farmer of Kundolia village, said the tomatoes produced without chemicals are being sent to different districts including the capital Dhaka after meeting the local demands. Many of the farmers are delighted over cultivating and harvesting chemical-free tomatoes.
He said: “Many farmers have already changed their fortunes through tomato cultivation in the region...they can earn between Taka 85,000 to Taka 95,000 by cultivating tomatoes on each bigha of land in a season.”
Tania Akter, a housewife living in Boaliapara of Rajshahi city, said although the early varieties of tomato are available in the local market, its price is very high. One kilogram of tomato is being sold at Taka 120 to 130 in retail markets at present.
Expansion of tomato farming in the Barind area is positive to lessening the gradually mounting pressure on groundwater as it’s a less-water consuming crop, said Jahangir Alam Khan, Coordinator of Integrated Water Resource Management Project.
Tomato farming is gaining popularity in the region, particularly in the vast tract of Barind area, since its cultivation is seen as profitable here, he said.
Sub Assistant Agriculture Officer Atanu Sarker told that commercial farming of the vegetable crop is gradually rising in the area amid new more investments by the entrepreneurs.
The tomato farming appeared as a fortune changer for many farmers as it made many peasants solvent in the region this year with also significantly infusing dynamism into the local economy.
Many of the farmers have become self-reliant through tomato cultivation in the region. “Farmers have cultivated tomatoes on 3,050 hectares of land only in Godagari Upazila this year,” said Sharmin Sultana, Upazila Agriculture Officer.
Bangladesh Agriculture Research Institute (BARI) developed 10 high-yielding and quality varieties of tomatoes and it has been promoting those among the growers.
Principal scientific officer of Fruit Research Station Dr Alim Uddin said the rates of production of the newly developed varieties are comparatively high and profitable than that of the domestic varieties.