Thirty-nine years old Saleha became helpless after the sudden demise of her husband. Her husband Ruhul was a rickshaw puller. They used to live at Ghior upazila sadar in Manikganj.
They have three children - two daughters and a son. They were happy and passing their life peacefully. But, an accident destroyed their happiness. One day, Ruhul was killed in a fatal road accident and the full family just became beleaguered.
After some days, Saleha decided to do something for their livelihood. She started to plant lemon trees in 2014. And now, she is a woman entrepreneur and a successful businesswoman.
The cultivation of lemon has brought smiles on the faces of more than three hundred families like Saleha of Baliakhora village under the Baliakhora union of Ghior upazila in the district.
Now a good number of traders are visiting the village regularly to buy lemons from the cultivators and supply those to the different parts of the country.
Lemon is cultivated commercially in some parts of the district. Ghior upazila is one of the special areas where lemon is cultivated abundantly. It is one of the main cash crops in the area. Every house has at least one lemon garden. Most of the housewives of the village are engaged in nursing the lemon plants and collecting the lemon from their gardens.
Saleha said she has been cultivating lemon on three bighas of land for more last five years.
Sometimes, she has to incur huge losses if the lemon market falls, but she and other lemon cultivators were very happy to get the maximum price during the holy month of Ramadan as lemon was a part of the iftar item.
She said normally a big size lemon is sold at Taka 2 to Taka 3 and a middle size lemon is sold at Taka 1.5 to Taka 2. But a big size lemon was sold at Taka 10 to Taka 12 and a middle size lemon from Taka 3 to Taka 4 during Ramadan as it had a great demand in the markets.
Rahim Mian, 55, another lemon cultivator of the same upazila said he has two bighas of land and he cultivates lemon regularly on his land and it is the only source of his income.
Most of the people of the village have at least one lemon garden and some people have more than one.
Shamsuddin, a middle-aged primary school teacher of the village said, “Now our village is known as "Lemon Village".
In the morning, a group of lemon traders regularly visit the village in search of lemons. So, there is no problem with selling the lemon. Even a housewife can sell her products from her doorsteps.
Ghior upazila agriculture officer Sheikh Shimul Hossain said the people of Baliakhora and Shodghata become self-reliant by cultivating lemon as it has a great demand around the year.
Chairman of Baliakhora union Abdul Awal Khan said Baliakhora is a village of 300 families and most of the families have a lemon garden which is the main source of income for the families.