Dumuria farmers dump paddy, switch over to vegetable farming
Publish- September 05, 2020, 02:13 PM
Sheikh Deedarul Alam - UNB Khulna Correspondent
The farmers of Dumuria upazila in Khulna are showing more interest in vegetable farming than that of paddy in the hope of making more profits with little labour.
Vegetables have been cultivated on vast tracts of land in Dumuria's Kulbaria, Dhulbaria, Sharafpur, Akra, Kharnia, Baratia, Chuknagar, Panchpora, Madhugram and Gutudia villages this year.
The farmers are also delighted with the better prices of almost all types of vegetable in the market since the beginning of the season.
Mehedi Hasan Bablu, a farmer of Chuknagar village in Dumuria upazila, said he plants paddy every year but this time he has cultivated vegetables for more income.
He said vegetable farming costs less but it is more profitable than that of paddy. More importantly, he said, vegetable harvesting requires little efforts and less workers.
“I’ve cultivated vegetables on 15 bighas of land instead of planting Aman paddy,” he said adding that there is less hassle and more profits.
Not only Mehedi, most farmers in this area now prefer vegetable farming than that of paddy.
According to officials at the Upazila Agriculture Extension Department, different types of vegetables have been cultivated on 3,500 hectares of land in the upazila this Robi season against last year’s 3,100 hectares.
Aman paddy has been planted on 15,550 hectares of land in the upazila this year against 15,950 hectares last year.
During a recent visit to Chuknagar, Kharnia, Kulbaria, Sharafpur and Panchpora areas of Dumuria upazila, the UNB correspondent found a vast area wearing a scenic look with huge vegetables. Fields are full of snake gourd, sponge gourd, okra, potato, bitter gourd, eggplant, tomato and other vegetables.
But many farmers bemoaned that they have been incurring huge losses for planting Boro and Aman paddies for lack of their fair prices. Besides, many farmers have fallen into the trap of debt and become destitute cultivating paddy, they alleged.
In an effort to get rid of the situation, many farmers, especially small- and medium-scale farmers, are slowly turning to vegetable cultivation.
Farmer Sarwar Hossain of Sharafpur village in the upazila said he has six bighas of cultivable land. This time he did not cultivate paddy on 2.5 bighas of land as he set it aside for vegetable cultivation. He then cultivated bean and bitter gourd on two and a half bighas of land.
Sarwar said the maximum price of new paddy in the market is TK 740 per maund. Around 60 maunds of paddy can be harvested from 2.5 bighas of land and he will get Tk 44,400 by selling the paddy.
But, Sarwar said, after selling vegetables planted on the same 2.5 bighas of land, he can earn Tk 50,000.
Mizanur Rahman, a farmer from Kulbaria village, said the cost of growing vegetables is lower and the profit is greater. “If we don’t get fair prices, the cultivation of paddy will gradually decline.”
Dumuria Upazila agriculture officer Mohammad Moshaddek Hossain said the soil of Dumuria is very suitable for vegetable cultivation. Vegetables are growing well, especially in Kulbaria, Dhulbaria, Chuknagar, Kharnia and Baratia areas. “Vegetable cultivation is increasing every year.”
The Department of Agriculture is also encouraging farmers to cultivate crops that are more profitable at lower cost, said the official.