Ctg farmers turn to vegetable cultivation

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Ctg farmers turn to vegetable cultivation

Rice cultivation falls 8–12 per cent; vegetable farming rises by 26 per cent in 5 years
Publication Date: 10 November, 2016 00:00 00 AM
Media: The Independent

Farmers of Chittagong are turning to vegetable cultivation in a big way instead of rice cultivation as the latter is considering loss-making, said sources in the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE).

Farmers said when time and cost are taken into consideration, vegetable farming is more profitable than rice cultivation.
Consequently, in the past five years, rice cultivation in Chittagong has declined eight to 12 per cent, while vegetable cultivation has increased by 26 per cent.
The rising trend in vegetable cultivation here has helped reduce dependence on vegetables brought from the northern parts of the country. After meeting the demands of Chittagong, vegetables are now being exported to other regions of the country. Earlier, the Chittagong vegetable market mainly depended on the vegetables of the country’s northern parts.
Nurul Haque, a 60-year-old farmer, told The Independent, “Once I used to cultivate rice on my 1.5 acres of paddy fields in Patiya of Chittagong. Almost every year, I suffered losses. In the past seven years, I have been cultivating different kinds of vegetables on the land. I found it cheaper to cultivate vegetables than to cultivate rice.”
He said he was earning much more in selling vegetables though these were more difficult to cultivate.
“On my land, when I cultivated rice twice on my 1.5 acres of land, I had to spend over Tk 85,000. But I could sell the rice at only Tk 67,000–70,000. It was just a loss of money and energy. Now, when I cultivate vegetables, I can sell it for about Tk 135,000 to Tk 140,000. So I have been cultivating vegetables for seven years now, after abandoning rice cultivation,” he added.
“To get rice, we have to wait four months. But we can sell vegetables every month or within a couple of months. We can make profits if we cultivate vegetables. At the same time, we have to count losses if we cultivate rice. So we have shifted,” said farmers Ali Ahmed and Joynal Abedin.
Like Nurul Haque, Chittagong’s farmers are turning to vegetable cultivation, abandoning rice cultivation.
In the 2011–12 fiscal year in Chittagong, vegetables were cultivated on 23,926 hectares of land. But in the fiscal year 2015–16, this has increased to 32,600 hectares of land, said the sources in the Department of Agriculture Extension.
Agriculture officers said there were huge possibilities of increasing vegetable cultivation in Chittagong as it has already proved profitable. To enhance cultivation, they placed emphasis on additional irrigation facilities.
Aminul Haque Chowdhury, the DAE’s deputy director in Chittagong, told The Independent, “The farmers are turning to vegetable cultivation as it is profitable. We are considering it a positive development. The vegetables of Chittagong now satisfy the local demand of the region. Beans from Sitakunda are now being exported to other parts of the country. This year we have set our target production of vegetables at 10 per cent higher than last year.”
“Farmers here are now cultivating over 20–25 different types of vegetables. There is high demand for vegetables,” he said.
“More than 100,000 hectares remain uncultivated in Chittagong. To bring the uncultivated land under cultivation, we have to increase the purview of irrigation facilities. If we are able to ensure 100 per cent irrigation facilities here, vegetables would be cultivated on 10,000–15,000 more hectares of land,” he added.
In Chittagong, there are about 226,000 hectares of arable land, while vegetables are currently being cultivated on 32,600 hectares.
Mostly pumpkin, spinach, eggplant, cucumber, bean, arum greens, arum sprout, tomato, cauliflower, cabbage and gourd are being farmed.
In Chandanish, Sitakunda, Banshkhali, Mirsarai and Sandwip, vegetables are largely cultivated commercially, while vegetables are cultivated on the basis of individual endeavours in Patiya and Hathazari upazilas.

Shamsuddin Illius
Shamsuddin Illius is a print and online media journalist. He has been working in the field (fulltime) of journalism since 2010. He is very much passionate about journalism since his early age. Currently he is the Bureau Chief-Chittagong at The Business Standard.

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