New High Value Crops Gaining Ground
Belal Ahmed Imran from the Ramdhana village of Biswanath upazila was awarded the Bangabandhu Jatiyo Krishi Podok for his contributions in fisheries in 2013. As the owner of “Dream Hatchery”, the only hatchery of local species of Shing and Magur in the Sylhet division, every year, Belal sells his fish to Jaipurhat, Khulna, Satkhira, Tangail and Pabna. However, inspired by Shykh Seraj’s TV programme on the success story of Capsicum farming by a man from Bogra, Belal became interested about the foreign vegetable.
Accordingly, he collected seeds and cultivated this uncommon vegetable on 40 decimals of land, which has already gotten a good yield. Belal says that, due to the use of organic fertilizer, risk of pest attack and disease is less. He always takes advice from the Agriculture Officials and SAU experts. “I have already sold 1,600 kg worth taka 1.7 lac in only 45 days from 4,700 plants. Hopefully, at least 3,500 kg more will be harvested in 2 months. The supply goes to department stores like Swapno and other wholesale traders in Sylhet.”
“I spent only Tk 25,000 to begin capsicum farming,” said a confident Belal, adding that the total sale may exceed over Tk 5 Lakh this year. Associate Professor Md. Shahidul Islam, Horticulture Department of Sylhet Agricultural University (SAU), said that Imran has ventured into a unique job. They have provided assistance for him by establishing a separate demonstration plot for Capsicum farming in front of Belal’s house. Belal has already inspired a good number of young men in the area to follow in his footsteps. This year Belal supplied 1,500 saplings to a farmer of Mymensingh. He plans to produce 5,000 saplings for other people in the coming year.
“Seeing the successful yield, a good number of young men in my area have already shown interested in following my work”, said Belal. “I will prepare saplings for them in the coming season”. Although the youth in the Sylhet region have a common trend to go abroad, especially to the UK, Belal is different. “I see better prospect in farming rare crops like capsicum, cherry tomato, etc. since these have very good demand in the local market”.
Md. Khairul Bashar, Deputy Director of Agricultural Extension of Sylhet said that Belal is a modern farmer and that they are providing him with complete assistance and in doing so, setting an example in the area.