RANGPUR: Banana cultivation has become popular both in mainland and riverine char areas bringing fortune to many farmers in Rangpur agriculture region.
Additional Director of the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) for Rangpur region Agriculturist Md Mahbubur Rahman said farmers have so far cultivated bananas on 2,750 hectares of land in the region during the current Rabi season.
As a result of motivational activities being conducted by the DAE and other agriculture related organisations, farmers are enhancing banana cultivation as a cash crop every year to reap more profits.
“Braving the corona pandemic, farmers are showing more interest in farming bananas and other fruits, especially during the last two years, to meet their nutrition, public nourishment and enhance immunity against the deadly virus,” he said.
The field level DAE officials are assisting farmers and providing technical support to expand cultivation of ‘Meher Sagar’, ‘Sobri’ and other varieties of banana on more lands in the region.
Many small and marginal farmers and landless char and riverside people have cultivated bananas in all upazilas of Rangpur, Kurigram, Lalmonirhat, Gaibandha and Nilphamari districts in the region this season.
In Nageshwari upazila of Kurigram alone, char and riverside people have cultivated bananas on 235 acres of char lands in Bamondanga, Berubari, Raiganj, Kochakata, Bolloverkhas, Kaliganj and Bhitorband unions this season.
“Excluding farming costs, we are earning Taka ten lakh on an average annually by farming bananas on 20 bighas of char lands,” said Rahman, adding that more char lands are being brought under banana farming every year.
Farmer Saiful Islam and Abdul Halim of the same union 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,” Saiful 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 a commercial basis.
Senior Coordinator (Agriculture and Environment) of RDRS Bangladesh Agriculturist Mamunur Rashid said boosting banana cultivation is effectively contributing to economic development of rural people.
The DAE and some NGOs are assisting farmers and providing latest technologies for expanding cultivation of bananas as a profitable cash crop on both mainland and char areas to improve their livelihoods and living standard.
“Cultivation of bananas alongside vegetables in relay methods on mainland and char lands has changed the fortune of many farmers in the last 13 years,” he added.