Bottle gourd growers in Chowgaccha upazila in Jashore district are reaping rich reward by cultivating bottle gourd on bamboo platforms as it is more profitable than other crops.
The farmers of the upazila have been involved in farming bottle gourd commercially by erecting bamboo platforms for the last few years, which drew a huge response among all the farmers.
Besides, the cultivation of bottle gourd through this modern method is gaining popularity in the area day by day due to favorable weather and good production. Most of the farmers of nine unions out of eleven under the upazila have brought their land under bottle gourd cultivation.
According to the local Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE), this year a total of 450 hectares of land have been brought under bottle gourd cultivation on bamboo platforms, which is double what it was last year.
During a recent visit to Narayanpur, Swarupdah, Hakimpur, Patbila unions of the upazila, this correspondent saw large stretches of land brought under bottle gourd cultivation.
Once, people used to cultivate bottle gourd in their yards, empty land near their house or the roof almost as a hobby but now they are able to do it on a commercial scale, and profitably.
Zinnat Molla, a farmer of Andarkota in the upazila, said “Although the bottle gourd cultivation on bamboo platforms is expensive, they get high yield through the production.”
Talking to some farmers, they said cultivating bottle gourd on bamboo platform is expensive but they preferred to cultivate the vegetable in this process as the application of fertilizer and pesticides is not needed like other vegetable land.
At the local markets, one piece bottle gourd is being sold at Tk 30-40 and the farmers of the upazila have brought their land under bottle gourd cultivation due to the high demand and good price.
The farmers have claimed that their bottle gourd plants were partially damaged due to incessant rainfall this year but they can recover the losses by their production.
Kabir Hossain, a wholesale trader in Chowgachha Kitchen Market, said “The demand of bottle gourd is high in the local market than other vegetables and traders from Khulna, Barishal, Jhalakati, Satkhira and other districts came to the market on haat day and they took it away after loading trucks.”
Rois Uddin, Upazila Agriculture officer, said “Every inch of the soil of Chowgachha upazila is favourable for crops cultivation including paddy, jute and other vegetables. The farmers of the upazila are now cultivating bottle gourd as it is more profitable than other vegetables. The officials of the local DAE are working to make people more attentive in bringing their lands under new cultivation.”