Tomato growers in Kamalganj upazila of Moulvibazar have seen a bumper production through the grafting method cultivation this year.
According to the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE), tomato has been cultivated through the grafting method in 73 hectares of land in different areas of the district this year, of which farmers from Kamalganj planted the fruit in 50 hectares with the target of producing 990 tonnes.
Local sources said tomato farmers from different parts of the upazila took farmland on a lease from landowners for a year, spending Tk 5,000-7,000 for each bigha near Patrokhola Club area under Madhabpur union, and cultivated tomato using the grafting method.
They have used the method for 20 years.
Farmer Md Abdul Matin of the upazila said he had been cultivating watermelon, cucumber, and tomato for a couple of years.
So far this year, he has sold tomato worth Tk 5 lakh cultivated in five bighas of land.
“I spent around Tk 1 lakh on one bigha of land, including the costs of labourers, bamboo, fertilisers, and pesticides,” said Matin.
“I have already sold 50 per cent of the produce,” he also said.
Aside from Patrokhola Club area, this type of tomato is seen in different areas of the upazila.
Farmer Matin said this tomato is grown by joining its plant with that of forest eggplant in the area.
“Many farmers have improved their livelihoods by cultivating this tomato,” he added.
Farmers now sell each kilogramme of tomato at Tk 120-150.
Adhama Olmik, a resident of Madhabpur tea garden, said she earns Tk 200 every day by working at Matin’s field.
“Thirty women are working in Matin’s tomato field. Now we can contribute to our families from our earnings,” said Adhama.
Farmer Monir Miah of Bongaon village has sold tomato worth Tk 3.5 lakh so far and is expecting to earn Tk 4-5 lakh more by selling the rest.
“This year, I have cultivated tomato in four bighas of land, spending Tk 4.5 lakh,” he said.
“I have got a good yield this time and am selling at a good price.”
Meanwhile, the farmers of the area said at least Tk 1 crore could be earned by cultivating tomato.
A number of jobless people are employed temporarily in the tomato fields. Many female tea garden workers are working in these fields.
According to the local farmers, wholesalers from Habiganj, Kulaura, Sylhet, Dhaka, and other places come to their fields to buy tomato.
Kazi Lutful Bari, deputy director of DAE’s Moulvibazar office, said both tomato production and prices were good this year.
He further said tomato farmers had been provided with fertilisers, pesticides, training, and other assistance for free.