Khirai an early winter windfall for farmers

Farmers process khirais after hervesting from their field at Baidyanathpur village in Matlab Uttar upazila of Chadpur. The photo was taken recently. Photo: Star
Alam Palash with Andrew Eagle
Delicious in salads, a good source of hydration and helpful in reducing body fat, crispy khirai, a small variety of cucumbers, are everybody’s friend. But farmers in Chandpur’s Matlab Uttar upazila are particularly enthusiastic about khirais these days, as the early winter crop of both local ufshi and hybrid varieties delivers healthy profits.

“Khirais produce a high yield and good profit,” says farmer Kabir Hossain of Baidyanathpur village. “It cost me around Tk 10,000 to grow khirais on 24 decimals of land, with an additional Tk 5,000 for labour.”

“From the first week’s harvest alone I have earned Tk 21,000,” he continues. “I expect to realise another Tk 45,000 from the crop before the season is done.”

Chandpur farmers have been busy with their khirais since mid-October when fields are ploughed and treated with pesticide, ready for the khirai crop. Within a fortnight of seeds being sown the seedlings are visible; within a month both male and female flowers are in bloom: on track to produce succulent khirais ready for an early winter harvest.

According to Matlab Uttar upazila’s Department of Agriculture Extension office khirai cultivation this season has exceeded targets, with khirais being grown in all unions and in particular in river char areas.

“Khirai cultivation can bring farmers a rapid return with a good profit from a small investment,” says Mohammad Abdul Kaiyum Mozumdar, Matlab Uttar upazila’s agriculture officer. “That’s why growing khirais is attractive to them.”

Farmer Abdul Hannan is exceptionally pleased with his crop. “I will grow khirais again after harvesting aman rice this season,” he says.

The current market price for khirais in Chandpur is between Tk 30 and Tk 35 per kilogram.