New mustard grown for first time shows promise

Farmers in three southwestern districts are cultivating a new, super healthy variety of mustard. According to sources at the Agricultural Advisory Society the new strain is suitable for local climate conditions and can produce a respectable yield.

Around 24 farmers in Jessore, Jhenidah and Magura are involved in trialling the new crop, with 15 bighas under cultivation in Jessore and 3 bighas each in the other two districts.

Farmer Badiur Rahman’s hopes for the new crop are high. “It’s a high-yield variety,” he told The Daily Star from his plot in Magura’s Chatkabaria village. “We hope to achieve up to 11 maunds of produce per bigha, within about 90 days.”

Although harvesting will cost him Tk 3,000, Rahman expects a good profit. At a per maund sale price of Tk 1500, he can hope for about Tk 13,500 profit from 11 maunds’ production.

“I sowed one kilogram of seed per bigha of this variety in October and November last year,” says farmer Nazrul Islam of Jessore’s Topshidanga. “I will harvest from in the last half of January.”

Another farmer, Shariful Islam of Jhenidah sadar upazila, says the new mustard crop can produce pure healthy oil without toxins or cholesterol.

Programme coordinator Saiful Islam of Jhenidah says the outlay for participating farmers is at a maximum Tk 4,500, from which each can expect a minimum of 9 maunds produce.

The Napus 01 and 2 mustard varieties involved were discovered by Dr. Wahiduzzaman, an agriculture scientist of the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute, with assistance from Uppsala University in Sweden.

“Dr Wahiduzzaman has worked tirelessly on developing this cholesterol-free mustard,” says Agriculture Advisory Society director Harun-or-Rashid. “As it has no erucic acid or glucosinolates there are significant health benefits.” Erucic acid and glucosinolates are commonly present in mustard crops; both are considered harmful.

“The oilcake of this variety may also be used on poultry farms,” adds Harun-or-Rashid, “Besides, it is good for those with heart problems or knee pain.”